A little luck and a little hustle were all the Texas Rangers needed to pull off their first three-game sweep this season.
A little luck and a little hustle were all the Texas Rangers needed to pull off their first three-game sweep this season.Jarrod Saltalamacchia scooted home when pitcher Brian Bannister flubbed a popup, giving Texas the go-ahead run in their 3-2 win over Kansas City on Wednesday night.“Give him 10 more of them and he won’t drop them,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Salty didn’t take it for granted the ball was going to be caught. It worked out well for us.”Matt Harrison won for the fourth time in August, pitching the Texas Rangers to a 3-2 win over the crumbling Kansas City Royals.The Royals have lost 10 of their last 11 games and 17 of 20, falling to a season-worst 21 games below .500.This one got away in the seventh inning. Chris Davis and Saltalamacchia hit two-out doubles to tie it, then Saltalamacchia came home when Joaquin Arias’ routine popup went off the heel of his glove.“That’s what we’re taught since Little League, to hustle and run the ball out. That’s the fundamentals of baseball. We were in a tight situation. We needed a big hit. I thought when he hit it that I had to run as hard as I can, especially since I’m not in the lineup everyday. I busted my fanny as hard as I could. Rounding third, I saw him drop it and I thought they might throw me out at home. Then I saw (catcher Miguel) Olivo out there, too, and I knew I had it.”Harrison (6-3), a 22-year-old rookie left-hander, went 4-1 in five August starts. He held the Royals to two runs, one earned, on seven hits in 6 2-3 innings, giving the Rangers their first franchise sweep of more than two games at Kansas City.Frank Francisco worked a flawless ninth to log his first career save.“It was night of firsts all the way around,” Washington said.Francisco was 0-for-6 in save opportunities this season before retiring the Royals in order in the ninth, striking out two.The Royals stranded seven runners and went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.“Obviously, the error hurt, but it shouldn’t have been as close as it was either,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “A lot of that has to do with lack of run production when we should produce. Third inning, runner on second, nobody out, and we don’t get him over. Fourth inning, runners on second and third with nobody out and we don’t score a run out of that, too.”Bannister (7-14), who struck out a career high eight, has not won in 11 starts since a June 23 victory over Colorado. He has not defeated an American League club since Cleveland on June 1. Bannister gave up three runs, two earned, on six hits and a walk. Not to mention the error.“I just didn’t catch it,” Bannister said. “It should have been caught and you don’t get a lot of practice at it. It should have stuck in the glove and it didn’t. It’s kind of unexpected.”Notes: Esteban German’s hit an RBI double in the third for Kansas City but Brandon Boggs led off the fourth with a tying homer. ... The Royals went up 2-1 in the fifth when David DeJesus’ two-out single scored German, who led off the inning with a single. ... Rangers CF Josh Hamilton was a late scratch with an abscessed tooth. ... Royals SS Mike Aviles went 0-for-4, snapping his nine-game hitting streak. ... The Royals have scored three or less runs in six of their past 11 games.