Young's walk-off homer lifts Rangers

Young's walk-off homer lifts Rangers

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have a postgame tradition of giving a beer shower to anybody who hits a walk-off home run.

Michael Young experienced it for the first time on Sunday afternoon at a time when the Rangers desperately needed something to celebrate.

Young smashed a 1-0 fastball off of reliever Kyle Farnsworth over the left-center-field wall to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning and give the Rangers a 6-5 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark. It was the first walk-off home run in Young's career.

"We needed it," Young said. "We definitely needed it. Kansas City did a really good job the whole series of pitching well, but fortunately we got some breaks in the end, and hopefully this will get some momentum going for us on the road."

The Rangers, who begin a seven-game road trip Tuesday, were six outs away from a 1-5 homestand and from getting swept by the Royals at home for the first time since 2003. But, trailing 5-3, they rallied with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie it before Young's ninth-inning home run.

"A great win," manager Ron Washington said. "An awesome win. It was needed. We've been one hit away and today we got that hit. If you keep putting yourself in position like that, good things like that will happen."

The Rangers led, 2-0, in the first inning and 3-2 in the second after Ian Kinsler's fourth home run of the season. But after Kinsler's home run off Royals starter Kyle Davies with one out in the second, the Rangers managed just one single over their next 18 at-bats through the seventh.

The Royals, on the other, banged on Texas starter Vicente Padilla for five runs in five innings. Padilla allowed eight hits, including home runs to Mike Jacobs and David DeJesus, and has yet to pitch at least six innings in any of his first three starts. He now has a 9.64 ERA.

But the Rangers bullpen picked him up, as the combination of Jason Jennings, C.J. Wilson and Frank Francisco combined for four scoreless innings. That kept the Rangers within two when Andruw Jones faced Royals reliever Ron Mahay to lead off the eighth.

"The bullpen did a great job," Washington said.

Jones got the Rangers' rally started with a long drive to deep left. DeJesus went to the wall and tried to making a leaping catch, but the ball hit off the top of his glove. Jones ended up at second with a double.

"The guy almost made a great play," Jones said. "I had a little luck on my side. After that, it was just a matter of time before things started going our way."

They did. Hank Blalock hit a grounder right at Jacobs, the Royals first baseman who fumbled it and then threw wildly to Mahay for an error. That left runners at the corners, with right-hander Jamey Wright replacing Mahay.

Nelson Cruz then hit a slow roller to second baseman Alberto Callaspo, who had to go to first for the out, allowing Jones to score and Blalock to reach second. After David Murphy popped out, Washington sent Chris Davis to the plate to pinch-hit for Taylor Teagarden.

Washington could have used Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was going to replace Teagarden on defense, but went with Davis even though he was hitting .158 on the season and was just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

"I thought if they put a pitch in the wrong spot, Chris had a chance of putting up two runs," Washington said.

Davis didn't go deep. But he hit a hard ground ball up the middle that Callaspo knocked down diving to his right. The ball didn't get far away, but third-base coach Dave Anderson sent Blalock anyway. The gamble worked because Callapso's throw didn't have much on it and Blalock just beat catcher John Buck's tag to tie the game.

"That was big," Young said.

"A great job of baserunning by Hank and a good job by Dave pushing the envelope," Washington said.

That left it to Young and his ninth-inning heroics to allow the Rangers to salvage the last game of the homestand.

"A home run was the last thing on my mind," Young said. "I was facing a guy with great stuf,f so I was just thinking contact and getting on base. We'll take the win any way we can."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.