Posted September 22, 2013 on AP on Fox
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Alexi Ogando gave the Texas Rangers more than they could have anticipated on Sunday. The Rangers' offense couldn't support Ogando with any runs. Justin Maxwell hit a grand slam with two outs in the 10th inning and the Kansas City Royals beat the Rangers 4-0 Sunday in a matchup of AL wild-card contenders. Ogando had kept it scoreless by pitching seven innings of two-hit ball, striking out five and walking one in a duel with Royals ace James Shields. ''Him and Ogando were locked up, zero zero,'' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ''We put ourselves in positions to get some runs off Shields, but just didn't deliver. For seven innings, Ogando was good and we got through the eighth and ninth.'' Shields gave up six hits in eight innings, walking one and striking out two. ''He was making his pitches the way he wanted, hitting his spots,'' Alex Rios said. ''It was the best I've seen him.'' Ogando, who had three stints on the disabled list this season, excelled in just his eighth start since May 15. He left after 77 pitches. ''It doesn't matter who I'm facing. I'm competing with the batters, Ogando said through an interpreter. ''They are the only ones I can compete with. It doesn't matter what anybody else is doing.'' The Rangers almost made it through the 10th. Eric Hosmer led off the inning by punching a double with two strikes down the left-field line off Neal Cotts (5-3). Joakim Soria relieved and intentionally walked Billy Butler, and an infield single by Salvador Perez loaded the bases. Mike Moustakas popped up and pinch-hitter George Kottaras grounded into a force play at the plate before Maxwell hit a full-count pitch over the left-field wall for the second career walk-off grand slam of his career. The Oakland Athletics clinched the AL West with the Rangers' loss. Texas dropped 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland for the second wild-card spot. Kansas City is 3 1/2 back. ''Soria did a nice job,'' Washington said. ''He just happened to get a fastball out over the plate and Maxwell hit it.'' Tim Collins (3-6) worked a perfect 10th to pick up the victory. Ogando, who had three stints on the disabled list this season, excelled in just his eighth start since May 15. He left after 77 pitches. Maxwell hit a leadoff single in the third and moved up on a sacrifice, making him the only Royals runner to get past first base against Ogando. Shields, who was 4-1 in his previous five starts, lowered his ERA to 3.21. He was struck in the right elbow by David Murphy's liner in the second, but remained in the game after making some warmup tosses as manager Ned Yost watched from the mound. Shields allowed two-out singles to Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus before getting out of the inning. Royals closer Greg Holland took over in the ninth. Rios made it to first when he struck out on a wild pitch to lead off the inning and stole second. But Rios was thrown out trying to take third on Adrian Beltre's fly to left, with Alex Gordon getting his AL-leading 16th outfield assist. Perez helped out Shields by throwing out Elvis Andrus at third base in the first and Leonys Martin at second in the fifth. It was the second time this season Perez has thrown out two runners in a game. ''There's only one chance we took - Rios,'' Washington said. ''You tag, and once you take off, you've got to read the throw, but he just kept going. The others were us playing baseball, trying to steal bags. That's the way we playing. We were trying to take advantage of opportunities and the catcher threw us out.'' NOTES: The Royals' final home attendance was 1,750,754, an average of 21,614 for 81 games. The Royals averaged 21,748 for 80 home dates last year. ... The Rangers play their final seven games at home. LHP Derek Holland, who starts Monday against Houston, has lost five straight decisions at Rangers Ballpark since May 31. He is winless in his past eight starts, the longest drought of his career. ... The Royals, who finish up with seven games at Seattle and Chicago, are 38-36 on the road. They have not finished above .500 on the road since going 43-39 in 2003.
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