Scott Baker baffles Royals in Kansas City Loss

Scott Baker

. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers starter Scott Baker, with 4 innings of help from Texas bullpen, befuddled the Kansas City Royals Sunday afternoon to earn a 3-1 win over Kansas City in Arlington.

Billy Butler drove in Kansas City’s only run with a solo home run in the 4th inning, his 9th of the season. Overall, Kansas City could manage no more than 6 hits against the Rangers.

The loss dropped Kansas City to 15 games over .500 at 72-57. The Royals look like they will drop a game off their 3-game AL Central bulge over the Tigers, who are leading 10-4 in the 8th against the Twins,

On the Mound

Jason Vargas scuffled through 6.0 innings, fighting his command. He surrendered 11 hits, 4 walks, and 3 runs (2 earned) with 3 strikeouts. Vargas did a good job keeping his team in the game despite not having his best stuff.

Jason Frasor entered in the 7th and put up a scoreless inning despite allowing 1 walk.

Aaron Crow pitched a clean 8th inning after surrendering 2 runs in the 9th the night before. Overall, Royals pitching stranded 11 Texas baserunners.

At the Plate

Overall, the Royals managed only 6 hits and 1 walk against Texas pitching.

Billy Butler slammed a solo home run (9) to left leading off the 4th inning. Butler’s home run was Kansas City’s only run against Rangers starter Scott Baker despite coming into the game with a 5.74 ERA. Butler went 1 for 4 with the home run (9), 1 run scored, and 1 RBI.

Omar Infante was the only Royal to get 2 hits, going 2 for 4 with 2 singles.

This and That

Alex Gordon helped Jason Vargas keep the Royals in the game by throwing Elvis Andrus out at home plate in the 1st inning. Gordon has the best outfield arm in baseball with 60 assists since the beginning of 2011 (Gordon’s first full year as a starting outfielder). Gordon’s 60 assists are the most in MLB, and 2nd place isn’t even close with Gerardo Parra at 45.

However, Gordon only has 7 this year—so apparently teams have finally learned to avoid challenging him after 3 consecutive gold gloves.

Despite Gordon’s outstanding play, the Royals defense gave up 2 errors. Vargas’ own throwing error on Leonys Martin‘s bunt single later allowed an unearned run to score in the 2nd.

The Royals squandered an opportunity to sweep a series in Texas for the first time in 11 years.

Kansas City finished their road trip with a 6-3 record.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

Jason Vargas gets our nod as Player of the Game for allowing only 2 earned runs on a day where he fought his command. Despite not having his best stuff, he gave his team a chance to win.

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The Rangers

Rangers starter Scott Baker was unexpectedly tough on Sunday, allowing only 5 hits, 1 walk, and 1 earned run in 5.0 innings. Baker entered Sunday’s game with a 5.74 ERA and a 1-3 record. Rangers manager Ron Washington wisely pulled him before he could turn into a pumpkin after only throwing 71 pitches.

Up Next

The Royals return home to face the Yankees in Kansas City. James Shields (12-6, 3.28 ERA) will start off the series for the Royals against Michael Pineda (2-2, 2.05 ERA) for the Yankees.  Game time is 7:10 PM CST at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.