Ventura struggles early, Royals lose to Rangers 5-2
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Yordano Ventura’s elevated ERA is still rising a year after he was among the best rookie pitchers in baseball.
Even after a loss in Texas, Kansas City manager Ned Yost isn’t too concerned.
Shin-Soo Choo hit a leadoff homer for the second straight game, and one of Prince Fielder’s three hits off Ventura was a two-run shot in the second inning, lifting the Rangers to a 5-2 victory over the Royals on Wednesday night.
“There was a lot to like about it,” Yost said after his 23-year-old right-hander gave up 10 hits and five runs in seven innings. “He made two mistakes, in my view. Going seven innings, I thought he did a nice job doing that. He really settled down after the second inning.”
Yovani Gallardo enjoyed some rare run support right from the start after the Rangers scored just two runs while the right-hander was in the game during a four-start losing streak that matched a career worst.
Gallardo (3-5) went to the mound in the fifth against the Royals with a 5-0 lead.
“Felt good, to be honest,” said Gallardo, who took a shutout into the seventh inning before allowing run-scoring doubles by Kendrys Morales and Salvador Perez. “Like I’ve always said, guys are going to hit. It’s only a matter of time.”
It was a matter of no time at all against the Royals, with Choo pulling Ventura’s sixth pitch — a 98 mph fastball — into the right-field seats. Fielder made it 4-0 with a two-run homer in the second.
The first five Texas hitters reached against Ventura (2-3), who gave up at least four runs for the fourth time in five starts, pushing his ERA up to 5.36.
“I understand that those were a couple of mistakes that I made early,” Ventura said through a translator. “But I’m going to continue to work hard, grind it out and see if I can continue to get better.”
Trailing 2-0 with the bases loaded and no outs in the first, Ventura got out of the inning with two of his six strikeouts and a lineout by Thomas Field.
Ventura was on the verge of escaping trouble again in the second after Elvis Andrus grounded into a double play while rookie Delino DeShields stayed at third. But Fielder sent his fourth homer into the seats to the right of the berm in center field.
“I see games like tonight, and you can see Ventura’s right there from getting over the hump,” Yost said. “I’ve got no concerns with the starting rotation right now.”
Gallardo allowed six hits in seven innings. Shawn Tolleson and closer Neftali Feliz combined to retire the last six Kansas City hitters, with Feliz getting his sixth save in eight chances.
DeShields had three hits, including his first triple, and scored twice for the Rangers.
Through six innings, Eric Hosmer was the only Kansas City runner to reach second base after he extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the second and moved up on Gallardo’s only walk, to Alex Gordon. “Gallardo threw a good game,” Yost said of the pitcher he managed in Milwaukee.
A ‘YO-YO’ GAME
The Royals said the Ventura-Gallardo matchup was the first in big league history featuring pitchers whose first names started with “Yo,” according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Royals: RF Alex Rios (broken left hand) said he started some limited hitting exercises Tuesday but still hasn’t resumed taking full swings. He’s been on the disabled list since April 14.
Rangers: CF Leonys Martin was out of the lineup again with a sore left hand. It’s the sixth time he hasn’t started since spraining his left wrist May 3 against Oakland. ... LHP Matt Harrison (spinal fusion surgery) threw 29 pitches in an extended spring training game in Arizona. He allowed three hits and two runs in two innings with a walk and two strikeouts.
Royals: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (2-2) faces the Rangers in the finale of the four-game series. He has five straight quality starts and a 2.41 ERA over his last six outings against Texas since the start of 2012.
Rangers: LHP Ross Detwiler (0-4) faces the Royals for the first time.