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(Saturday, September 21st)
Final Score: Texas 3, Kansas City 1
Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - With the Texas Rangers' playoff hopes dwindling day by day, Matt Garza stepped up and temporarily righted the ship.
Garza fired eight-plus innings of one-run ball in the Rangers' 3-1 win over the Kansas City Royals in the middle test of a three-game set.
Garza (4-5) struck out five and surrendered just five hits and a walk for the Rangers, who are one-half game behind the Cleveland Indians for the AL's second wild-card spot.
"He was really good. He was really pounding the strike zone," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said of Garza.
Garza was 0-3 with an 8.22 ERA in three prior September starts.
"You're the one who has to wake up in the morning and look at yourself in the mirror. I wasn't happy with what I saw. I just got back to being comfortable, back to being who was I was," Garza said.
Texas, which had dropped 15 of its last 19 tilts coming in, saw its long lasting lead atop the wild-card standings vanish on Friday. The Cleveland Indians' rain-shortened triumph over the Houston Astros on Friday, paired with the Rangers' 2-1 loss to KC, gave them the advantage in the standings.
Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios both tallied an RBI and run scored apiece, while Craig Gentry smacked three hits in the victory. Joe Nathan struck out two in the ninth to notch his 40th save of the season.
Jeremy Guthrie (14-12) allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks over six innings for Kansas City, which is 3 1/2 games behind the Tribe for the AL's second wild-card spot.
Eric Hosmer's solo homer in the ninth accounted for the Royals' lone run.
Texas jumped out to a 3-0 lead after plating a run in the first and two in the third.
Ian Kinsler belted a triple into the gap in right-center to start the game and Andrus' RBI groundout brought him home.
Back-to-back one-out walks to Andrus and Rios in the third preceded Adrian Beltre's single, which brought home Andrus. A.J. Pierzynski's sacrifice fly plated Rios.
Texas was 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, while the Royals finished 0-for-3 with RISP ... Hosmer's blast was his 17th of the season ... Beltre has 88 RBI this year.
09/22 00:52:47 ET