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Gray pitches five shutout frames, Langford hits grand slam to lift Rangers over Royals

Jon Gray Texas Rangers Jon Gray - The Canadian Press

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jon Gray allowed two hits over five innings to rebound from his worst major league start and Wyatt Langford hit an eighth-inning grand slam that led the Texas Rangers over the Kansas City Royals 6-0 on Saturday.

Gray (3-3) gave up back-to-back third-inning singles while throwing 51 of 72 pitches for strikes. He gave nine earned runs and 11 hits in three innings-plus last Monday in a 14-2 loss to the New York Mets.

“Terrific job. Good stuff,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said of Gray. “It’s good to see him back on track.”

Langford, a 22-year-old rookie who debuted on opening day, connected off a 2-2 slider from Angel Zerpa for the Rangers’ first grand slam this season. Langford is hitting .299 with 18 RBIs in 21 games since returning from a hamstring strain that caused him to miss most of May.

“That was pretty cool,” Langford said. "I even forgot it was a grand slam.”

World Series champion Texas has won three straight following a five-game losing streak. The Rangers have scored at least five runs in four consecutive games for the first time this season.

Kansas City, which tied a season low with three hits, has lost 10 of 13, scoring 36 runs in those games.

Josh Smith hit a solo homer in the fourth off Michael Wacha (4-6) and Adolis García hit a run-scoring comebacker in the eighth as Marcus Semien slid home ahead of Zerpa’s throw.

Jacob Latz, David Robertson and Brock Burke finished the three-hitter, just the third shutout against the Royals this season. Seventeen consecutive Kansas City batters were retired between Adam Frazier’s third-inning single and pinch-hitter Nelson Velázquez’s one-out single in the ninth.

Wacha gave up three hits and one walk in five innings. It was his first start since May 31, when his left foot was fractured by a comebacker on his fourth pitch against San Diego.

“What a competitor,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said of the 32-year-old, who pitched at Texas A&M. “I mean, he’s pitching on a hurt foot, battling back this whole time without it really being a hundred percent. To come out here and pitch that good against that team is really impressive.”


Rangers: 3B Josh Jung (fractured right wrist) will accompany the team on next week’s trip and could be ready to play by midweek.


Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer is to make his season debut in Sunday’s series finale. Scherzer, 39, hasn’t pitched for the Rangers since Game 3 of the World Series last fall. RHP Alec Marsh (5-4, 4.37 ERA) starts for the Royals, who will try to avoid being swept for the first time this season, after allowing a career-high seven runs in three innings in a loss at Oakland on Tuesday.