Rangers jump on miscues to rally for win

Rangers jump on miscues to rally for win

KANSAS CITY -- It was the perfect recipe for a loss.

Milton Bradley committed a major error in right field. Josh Hamilton went 0-for-5. Kevin Millwood gave an all-too-familiar road performance on the mound.

Still, somehow Texas came away with a 6-5 victory over the Royals on Tuesday night. Two big gifts from Kansas City, one in the eighth and the other in the ninth, helped the Rangers when they couldn't help themselves.

"I wasn't surprised," manager Ron Washington said. "The game is supposed to be nine innings, and we played nine innings tough. That's the way the game is supposed to be won."

You could argue this game was more about how Kansas City lost it. With the game tied 5-5 in the ninth, Ian Kinsler led off with a double and advanced to third on Michael Young's groundout. Hamilton then struck out, and Bradley was intentionally walked.

It was all up to David Murphy to drive in Kinsler. Or not.

Ramon Ramirez tossed a pitch into the dirt past catcher John Buck.

Kinsler said he knew the backstop wasn't too far behind home plate. He knew Gerald Laird made a big baserunning mistake earlier. He just didn't care.

"If he let one go," Kinsler said, "I was going."

Kinsler got in there just before the tag.

"We battled all the way to the end," Kinsler said. "Especially on a road trip, it's big to win games from behind."

The Rangers were in position to win because of an error by Royals first baseman Mark Teahen in the eighth. With two outs, Hamilton hit a grounder to shortstop Mike Aviles. Teahen bobbled his throw.

"I dropped it cut and dry," Teahen said. "It sunk on me, it handcuffed me and I dropped the ball. What can you do?"

Bradley, the next batter, doubled, driving in two runs. Murphy and Laird each followed with a single and RBI to tie the game at 5. Texas finally warmed up to Kansas City's relief pitchers after getting just four hits and one run off starter Gil Meche in the first six innings.

It was the exact opposite for the Rangers' pitching staff. The bullpen dominated. C.J. Wilson pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 12th save. Josh Rupe and Eddie Guardado didn't allow any runs setting Wilson up in the seventh and eighth.

They fared a whole lot better than Millwood. He was well on his way to an 11th consecutive loss in a road decision before Kansas City started giving the game back. Millwood gave up five runs and 11 hits in six innings. He allowed a run each in the first, fourth and fifth, and two in the sixth.

The last two weren't entirely his fault. Bradley let an Aviles single go through his legs to the wall in right field. A run scored, and Aviles scored on the next at-bat.

Bradley wasn't the only one to err. Laird ran to third, with no outs and no one else on, on a groundout to the pitcher and got thrown out in the fifth. In the next inning, Texas scored only one run with the bases loaded, nobody out and the heart of the order at the plate.

"You always think about what you could've done to make the game a little quicker," Kinsler said.

But in the end, they could all be forgiven. Kansas City's mistakes were far more costly.

"We just pushed through in the eighth and ninth to win it," Washington said, "but that happens in games sometimes."

Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.