ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Mitch Moreland homered with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Texas Rangers a 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
Moreland’s 17th homer landed in the second deck of seats in right field.
Brooks Pounders (1-1) had gotten the first two outs in the ninth before Moreland homered for the fourth time in five games. He had two homers Thursday night when Texas won 3-2 in the series opener against the Royals.
Matt Bush (4-2) pitched two scoreless innings, with one strikeout.
Both starting pitchers, Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy and Rangers lefty Martin Perez, allowed one run over seven innings. While both had strong outings to finish the month, they are each 0-3 in six July starts.
The AL West-leading Rangers won their third straight game to clinch the series against the stumbling defending World Series champion Royals. Texas has an AL-high 61 wins and a five-game division lead over Houston.
Kansas City has lost seven of its last eight games and 32 of 51 overall since the start of June. At 49-54, the Royals are five games under .500 for the first time since the end of the 2012 season.
Perez struck out five and got 14 of his 21 outs on groundballs, including three more double plays. The left-hander has induced a majors-high 28 double plays this season. Perez allowed consecutive singles to start the game, and leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar eventually scored on Eric Hosmer’s groundout for a 1-0 lead.
Kennedy struck out six without a walk.
Royals: Closer Wade Davis headed back to Kansas City on Saturday night for an MRI on his right arm. Davis, who last pitched Wednesday, was on the 15-day disabled list earlier this month with a strain in his forearm. ... C Salvador Perez was back in the Royals lineup after being a late scratch Friday.