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Bibens-Dirkx pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Rougned Odor homered and the Texas Rangers extended their winning streak to a season-high five games with a 3-2 victory Wednesday night.
Bibens-Dirkx (1-1) allowed one run and five hits in 6 2/3 innings for his first win since last Sept. 6 in a relief appearance at Atlanta – and sent the Royals to their ninth straight loss.
”The first two starts didn’t quite go as I had wanted,” Bibens-Dirkx said, ”so to get another opportunity and to come out here and do what I feel like I can do on a pretty consistent basis was nice.”
Kansas City’s slump is its longest this season, and the Royals have dropped 15 of 16 overall and been outscored 102-38 while losing 16 of 18 in June. Their worst June in franchise history was 7-19 in 1970, the team’s second year in existence. The Royals will wind up June with nine games against the Astros, Angels, Brewers and Mariners, clubs above .500.
Bibens-Dirkx, a 33-year-old right-hander, spent 12 years in the minors, including two seasons with independent league teams before making his big league debut last year. He was called up to replace Yohander Mendez, who was sent to Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday after violating team rules.
Jake Diekman worked the ninth for his second save, but not before yielding a leadoff homer to Mike Moustakas. The game ended when Hunter Dozier was thrown out at second on a delayed steal.
”It’s perfect timing,” Royals manager Ned Yost said to steal. ”You probably haven’t noticed that we’ve been having trouble bunching some hits together. It’s a chance to maybe hopefully catch them by surprise and get into scoring position and one hit will tie the ballgame up and keep us going.”
Yost acknowledged that Isiah Kiner-Falefa making his first big league start behind the plate factored into the decision to send Dozier. His throw nearly hit Diekman in the head.
”It was kind of scary, a crazy, crazy way to end the game,” Kiner-Falefa said. ”It worked out. Everything worked out. That was close. I was kind of in shock that he was out. I was just glad it didn’t hit Jake Ramon Humber Jersey , honestly. I tried to adjust my throw last second and saw it bounce, but that was close.”
Diekman just avoided being hit.
”I was shocked – that the ball was thrown, that he was running at all – but it was my bad for not getting out of the way,” Diekman said. ”It ended the game and it didn’t hit me, so we’re good.”
Odor homered into the Royals’ bullpen with two outs in the sixth on a 1-2 pitch from Royals starter Jakob Junis, who has lost his last five starts and has not won since May 18. Junis (5-8) has given up 19 home runs to tie for the American League lead. He allowed three runs and five hits with four walks and a hit batter.
”I’ve given up a lot of home runs this year,” Junis said. ”It’s something I’m conscious about. I’m trying to keep in the ball park because when I do that’s when I have more success. I can’t pinpoint on it on one exact thing.”
Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a single, extending his on-base streak to 34 games. He stole second, moved to third on Elvis Andrus‘ high chopper back to Junis and scored on Nomar Mazara’s fly out to center,
The Rangers loaded the bases with no outs in the second on singles by Jurickson Profar and Odor and Joey Gallo’s first of three walks. The Rangers, however, converted that into only one run when Kiner-Falefa grounded into a double play.
Alex Gordon singled with one out in the Kansas City second and scored on Dozier’s double.
Bibens-Dirkx and Kiner-Falefa became the first starting pitcher and catcher in big league history with hyphenated last names.
After the Royals traded closer Kelvin Herrera to Washington, who will inherit that role? ”All of them,” Yost said of his relievers. ”Opportunity exists down there. We’ll have to see who takes advantage of it. I’ll look at different guys, but I would prefer one guy to emerge, take advantage of the opportunity. But it’s wide-open right now.”
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (elbow discomfort) threw batting practice to C Robinson Chirinos and OF Carlos Tocci. He is hopeful to begin a minor league rehab assignment Monday. ”There were some quality pitches inside the set, like a guy that was getting ready to take the next step of the rehab process,” Banister said. … RHP Chris Martin (right calf strain) also threw to hitters. He is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday. ”He’s close Rasmus Ristolainen Jersey ,” Banister said.
Rangers: Off on Thursday before opening a weekend series Friday at Minnesota with LHP Mike Minor (4-4, 5.35) starting.
Royals: Travel day on Thursday to Houston, where LHP Danny Duffy (3-7, 5.55) will start the series opener Friday.
The Chicago Cubs will try to bounce back from their first loss in more than a week when they host the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon in the second part of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.
A 3-2 loss on Friday afternoon snapped a six-game winning streak for Chicago (49-36), which failed to score five-plus runs for the first time in nine games. The Cubs are 3-7 against the Reds this season.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati (39-49) will try to keep up its recent hot streak. The Reds have won two straight, five of six and 14 of 18 to rewrite the narrative on a miserable start to the season.
Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood (3-5, 4.54 ERA) is scheduled to make his 16th start. He does not have a victory in his past eight outings and is seeking his first win since May 11.
Control has been a problem for Chatwood, who leads the big leagues with 66 walks in 73 1/3 innings. He hopes for better results and his first win against Cincinnati, against whom he is 0-4 with a 4.18 ERA in five career starts. He has walked 17 and struck out 17 in 23 2/3 innings against the Reds.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati will counter with right-hander Matt Harvey (4-5, 4.91), who will make his 15th start of the season and his 11th with the Reds. The 29-year-old has found confidence since arriving from the New York Mets, limiting opponents to two runs or fewer in each of his past three outings.
“It’s nice to finally get into a groove, get into a rhythm, know I can get out of jams when I need to and also be able to go deep into games with consistent velocity and good stuff,” Harvey said recently to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “When you start feeling healthy, the confidence comes back Adolphus Washington Jersey , for sure.”
Harvey’s renewed effectiveness could make him a trade candidate for an eager contender.
In five career starts against the Cubs, including three at Wrigley Field, Harvey has posted a 2-1 record with a 4.23 ERA. He has walked eight and whiffed 28 in 27 2/3 innings.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who has been on the disabled list since June 23 because of inflammation in his left shoulder, is nearing a return as the weekend approaches. He said he felt good after taking swings in the batting cage Friday, which pleased team president Theo Epstein and others.
“The shoulder, it’s an important joint for the swing, and his swing, and the finish he has,” Epstein said to the team’s official website. “I don’t know that we expected it to (take) this long, but it’s certainly very legitimate, and he needs to be able to execute his swing. I’m glad today is a good day, and hopefully we’ll have him back sometime soon.
“He really wants to be out there, but any time you have an injury you feel on your swing, you have to be smart about it. He’s been smart about it. He wants to be out there contributing. The fact that guys have stepped up and won some games makes it a little bit easier.”