Royals score early, blow out Rangers 11-5 in series opener
photo by: Colin E. Braley/AP Photo
Kansas City, Mo. — Hunter Dozier drove in three runs, top prospect Nicky Lopez had an RBI single in his big league debut, and the Kansas City Royals routed the Texas Rangers 11-5 on Tuesday night.
Alex Gordon and Jorge Soler also drove in two runs apiece for the Royals, who scored nine times in the first two innings while quickly knocking Rangers starter Shelby Miller from the game.
Danny Duffy (2-1) was only marginally better for Kansas City, using 107 pitches just to survive five innings. He allowed four runs, seven hits and a walk while striking out seven.
Miller (1-3) was pulled with two outs in the second. The veteran right-hander allowed eight runs and seven hits with two walks in another ugly performance in his return from Tommy John surgery.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus left with tightness in his right hamstring after grounding out to end the seventh inning. He will be evaluated again Wednesday in another blow to a team that has lost five straight to fall a season-worst five games below .500.
The Royals pounced on Miller right from the start, sending seven to the plate in the first inning and jumping out to a 3-0 lead. But they cracked the game open in the second, when they sent 11 batters to the plate and drove in six runs against Miller and Rangers reliever Wei-Chieh Huang.
The stunning offensive outburst came after Kansas City managed six singles and no extra-base hits in a loss to the Phillies on Sunday. And it came after the arrival of second baseman Nicky Lopez, one of their top prospects, who got the start at second base and hit second in the lineup.
He walked in the third before his first career hit, a two-out single in the seventh inning.
Joey Gallo had a pair of RBIs for the Rangers, who tried to climb back into the game with a four-run third. But they stranded runners in four consecutive innings, repeatedly failing to get the crucial hit they needed to avoid a 1-6 start to their nine-game, 10-day road trip.
The Royals originally made up No. 19 jerseys for Lopez, but he asked to wear No. 1 because it was the number his father wore in softball. New jerseys were made and arrived before first pitch.
The Royals made roster space for Lopez by sending right-hander Jake Newberry to Triple-A Omaha and designating first baseman Frank Schwindel for assignment. The Royals are hopeful Schwindel clears waivers and they can keep him in their organization.
Rangers left-hander Cole Ragans, their first-round pick in the 2016 draft, will need a second Tommy John surgery after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament. The 21-year-old Ragans was close to pitching in a game for the first time since his last surgery when he began feeling discomfort about a week ago.
“It’s obviously concerning,” said Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, adding that surgery will be Wednesday. “This is the first Tommy John surgery we’ve had that’s failed.”
The Royals hope Jorge Lopez (0-4, 6.07 ERA) can get on track Wednesday night after a blowout loss to the Astros. He goes against former Royals pitcher Mike Minor, who is 3-3 with a 2.68 ERA for Texas.