Arlington, Texas The Texas Rangers have thrived since Ian Kinsler returned to the lineup.
Kinsler hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning to lift the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
With the score tied at 2, Royals starter Gil Meche (0-4) walked Michael Young with one out in the eighth. Josh Hamilton followed with an infield single, and Young advanced to third on Vladimir Guerrero’s flyout.
Kinsler, who went 2-for-3, fell behind 0-2, then evened the count at 2-2. He fouled off two pitches before lining a 2-2 slider to right that scored Young.
“(Meche) caught a little too much of the plate, and I was able to flip it in,” Kinsler said. “It came down to execution, who was going to execute the best. I won the battle. The first two pitches (fastballs), I wasn’t expecting that. He put me in a defensive mode. I was able to foul a few off and was able to flip that last pitch to right field.”
Texas is 7-2 with Kinsler starting after he missed the first 21 games because of a high ankle sprain.
“I’m happy for Kinsler,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “He’d been battling all night.”
Chris Ray (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Neftali Feliz worked the ninth for his eighth save in nine chances.
Texas has won the first three games of the four-game series and nine of 12 overall.
Meche, who began the night 0-3 with a 9.89 earned-run average in his first five starts, had a 128-pitch outing. He allowed three runs and six hits, struck out three and walked seven — three of which scored.
“Seven walks is not good, especially against a team like that,” Meche said. “To be able to throw that many pitches and have good stuff at the end ... I just couldn’t make up for the walks.”
David DeJesus homered for the Royals, who’ve lost four straight and six of seven.
“A play here, a play there, a base hit here, a base hit there,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “It’s frustrating.”