The Rangers and Royals look to rebound after each dropped two of three games at home to a last place team, with Texas struggling against the Washington Nationals while Kansas City came up short against the Oakland Athletics.
The Rangers will open a nine-game trip on Monday night with a three-game series in Kansas City. Texas then will face the National League East-leading New York Mets before concluding in Baltimore against the Orioles.
The Royals, who have dropped three of their past four after winning five of six, are coming off consecutive two-run losses to Oakland after taking the series opener 3-1 on Friday.
“It was a couple of games here in a row we had opportunities … two of those,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “I feel like those are games we need to walk away with, and we didn’t.”
The Royals, who haven’t won a series at home since taking two of three contests against the Minnesota Twins from April 19-21, squandered a chance to win one on Sunday.
Trailing 2-0 in the sixth, Nicky Lopez led off for the Royals with a triple to left, and Whit Merrifield grounded out before consecutive walks to Andrew Benintendi and Bobby Witt Jr. loaded the bases. Carlos Santana delivered a two-run single before Edward Olivares followed with a run-scoring single four pitches later to give Kansas City a 3-2 lead.
But the A’s took the lead for good in their next at-bat. After Chad Pinder’s single and Cristian Pache’s double with two outs, Nick Allen cleared the bases with a single to center, giving Oakland a 4-3 lead.
The Rangers, who defeated the NL East cellar-dwelling Nationals 3-2 on Saturday after falling to them 2-1 on Friday, gave up three runs in each of the first two innings Sunday and never recovered in a 6-4 loss.
Texas got just one hit in 20 at-bats with runners in scoring position during the three-game series.
“We’ve got to do a better job of creating pressure,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “We’re not putting enough traffic out there. We kind of went through this earlier. We’ve got to be a little more disciplined in the zone and not necessarily swinging at every strike.”
Texas will turn to left-hander Martin Perez (5-2, 1.96 ERA), who is coming off two stellar outings. He scattered six hits over six innings to go with six strikeouts and three walks in a 7-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday. He allowed a run on eight hits, walked none and struck out five in a 3-1 win over the Detroit Tigers on June 16.
Perez is 4-1 with a 4.43 ERA in 11 appearances (all starts) in 61 innings against the Royals in his career but has allowed eight home runs.
The Royals will counter on Monday with left-hander Kris Bubic (1-4, 7.41), who picked up his first win of the season in his most recent outing. He yielded just two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in six innings in a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels last Monday.
Bubic has faced the Rangers twice in his career, both times as a reliever. He’s allowed four runs on four hits with two strikeouts and two walks in 1 2/3 innings.
–Field Level Media