Semien, Gray lead Rangers to 8-3 win over struggling Royals
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Marcus Semien homered and drove in four runs, Jon Gray pitched seven effective innings and the Texas Rangers beat the Kansas City Royals 8-3 on Tuesday night.
Corey Seager hit a two-run double as the Rangers handed last-place Kansas City its fourth consecutive defeat. They’ve outscored the Royals 18-7 in the first two games of the series.
“I thought we did a good job all the way through,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “Obviously, (Semien and Seager) got the big hits, but the guys who got on base had really stubborn at-bats. If you can do that every night, we’re tough to pitch to.”
Semien had three hits and scored three times. His three-run homer off starter Jonathan Heasley made it 4-0 in the third.
“Heasley attacked me with a lot of changeups with runners in scoring position,” Semien said. “He located a couple of them and I fouled them off. Then he threw it a little higher and I stayed on it.”
Gray (4-3) matched his longest outing of the season. He allowed one run and five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. The right-hander managed only one 1-2-3 inning, but kept working out of trouble and let only two runners reach second base.
“I felt like I had a good mix going,” Gray said. “We didn’t show everything right away. We were mainly fastball/slider early on. The second and third time through we started using more curveballs and changeups. We were in the zone enough. I walked too many, but I’m happy with the outcome.”
Heasley (1-4) gave up seven runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.
“(Heasley) has good stuff. When we’re swinging at curveballs and changeups below the zone, we make his life easier. But today we didn’t do that,” Woodward said.
Touted prospect Vinnie Pasquantino went 0 for 4 in his major league debut for the Royals. He hit a hard grounder in his first at-bat but it resulted in a 4-6-3 double play.
Adolis Garcia’s two-out double in the first scored Semien.
Josh Smith and Seager singled to start the third before Semien drove a 2-2 pitch into the bullpen in left field.
“I think we’re a good offense,” Semien said. “You’re going to have slow starts, you’re going to have good starts. In our minds, we’re a good offense. The last two nights we’ve shown the good things we can do.”
Bobby Witt Jr. put the Royals on the board in the bottom half with an RBI single.
The Rangers added three more runs in the fourth. They had the bases loaded with one out when Seager lined one into left-center, scoring two. Semien added a sacrifice fly to make it 7-1, chasing Heasley.
Kyle Isbel launched his second career home run and first this season for Kansas City in the eighth. Andrew Benintendi had a sacrifice fly.
Smith left with a bruised right calf after fouling a ball off his leg. Woodward said it was precautionary and the third baseman should be available Wednesday.
The finale of the three-game series is Wednesday afternoon. RHP Dane Dunning (1-5, 4.17 ERA) pitches for Texas against RHP Zack Greinke (1-4, 4.68).
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