ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Alexi Ogando allowed only one run pitching into the seventh inning, Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 13 games and the Texas Rangers defeated the Kansas City Royals 3-1 Saturday night.
Ogando (3-0) held the Royals scoreless until Kila Ka’aihue led off the seventh with a homer on the right-hander’s 14th and final pitch. He struck out five, walked one and allowed five hits.
By losing the first two games in the three-game set, the Royals (12-9) became the last team in the majors to lose a series this season. They had won three series and split three others before getting to Texas.
After Elvis Andrus had a one-out walk in the third off Kyle Davies (1-2), Young had his second single of the game. Adrian Beltre then hit a sacrifice fly before Young stole second base and scored on a single by Nelson Cruz to make it 3-0.
Davies limited the Rangers to three runs and four hits over six innings, but still has never beaten them. The right-hander is 0-5 with a 5.91 ERA in eight career starts against Texas.
Cody Eppley made his major league debut with two scoreless innings before Darren Oliver worked a perfect ninth for his fourth major league save in his 602 career appearances.
Eppley’s contract was purchased from Triple-A Round Rock earlier Saturday and Oliver became the first in line for the Rangers’ closer-by-committee setup after closer Neftali Feliz was put on the disabled list (right shoulder inflammation).
Before a save last season, the 40-year-old Oliver hadn’t had a save since 1994. He is the oldest player ever to recover a save for the Rangers.
Alex Gordon extended his career-best and AL-high hitting streak to 17 games for the Royals with a single in the first.
Gordon’s single came after a single by Melky Cabrera, but Ogando got out of that jam with an infield popout and a grounder. The Royals had two runners on in each of the first three innings.
After Cabrera doubled and Gordon was hit by a pitch to start the third, Ogando, a converted outfielder, faced only 12 more batters — helped by a double play in the fifth — before Ka’aihue’s second homer landed in the second deck of seats in right field.
Eppley then took over and struck out Matt Treanor.
Texas got an unearned run in the second when David Murphy reached on an error by second baseman Chris Getz and scored on a double by Mitch Moreland.
Young, the longest-tenured Ranger in his 11th season and now the team’s primary designated hitter, is hitting .434 (23 of 52) in his hitting streak to push his season batting average to .366.
While Gordon extended his hitting streak, the second-longest active in the majors behind a 20-gamer by Andre Ethier for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Royals teammate Jeff Francoeur has a 13-game hitting streak after his eighth-inning double. Wilson Betemit’s 13-game streak ended by going 0 for 4, including shortstop Andrus making an impressive catch of a popup in short left field to end the eighth.
NOTES — Ogando threw 13 scoreless innings his first two starts, and was coming off a no-decision last Sunday when he gave up five runs in 6 1-3 innings at the New York Yankees. His ERA is 2.13. ... Rangers C Yorvit Torrealba was uninjured in the third when he was chasing a foul popup and ended up running down the steps of the Texas dugout. ... Despite several impressive lightning strikes lighting up the sky during the game, including a couple of to-the-ground bolts just beyond the stadium in the ninth inning, there was no delay.