KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Delino DeShields is known for his speed, stealing 101 bases in 2012 in the minors, not for his power.
DeShields homered in the seventh inning to break a tie and the Texas Rangers defeated the Kansas City Royals 2-1 on Sunday.
DeShields, who was recalled Thursday from Triple-A Round Rock, walked and doubled before leading off the seventh with his third home run. DeShields hit a 2-1 pitch from Luke Hochevar out to left.
“It so happened that today I was the guy that got us the go-ahead run,” DeShields said. “I was just trying to hit the ball hard. I wasn’t looking for anything specific. I wanted to get on base. Before I had gotten on base in every at-bat.
“With the game tied and if I get myself in scoring position, there’s a good chance for me to touch home plate. I got into it pretty good and got it over the fence, but the main focus was just putting the barrel on the ball and try to get on base.”
The loss dropped the Royals to 48-49, the first time the World Series champions have been below .500 since May 15 when they were 18-19. The Royals have lost 13 of 19 games in July.
Left-hander Alex Claudio (2-1) picked up the win, pitching a scoreless sixth.
Hochevar (2-3) took the loss and has allowed six runs in 6 1-3 innings in July.
“It was a four-seam fastball and it just took off and ran back over the plate,” Hochevar said of DeShields’ home run. “Trying to go down and away with that and it just ran middle.
Rangers relievers Claudio, Keone Kela, Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson held the Royals scoreless the final four innings.
Dyson earned his 20th save in 22 opportunities, but not before allowing two singles and taking Paulo Orlando’s liner off his right shoulder.
After stranding runners at third base in the third, fourth and fifth innings, the Rangers broke through with a clutch hit in the sixth when Mitch Moreland’s two-out single scored Adrian Beltre, who began the inning with a single.
Royals starter Edinson Volquez left after six innings and 91 pitches, allowing one run and seven hits, while walking three and striking out three. It was Volquez’s fifth straight start pitching at least six innings and he has a 2.87 ERA in that span.
There were scouts watching Volquez, who is eligible for free agency after this season and could be traded at the deadline.
“He pitched in and out of trouble all day long, a fantastic job,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin left after allowing four hits in five innings, including Kendrys Morales’ home run in the fourth inning. Morales had three of the Royals’ seven hits.
“I tried to keep them off balance as well as I could,” Griffin said. “It’s a good team win. Delino had a great day. I think it was good step forward for the whole team and something to build on.”
The Rangers won back-to-back games for the first time since June 27-28.
C Salvador Perez was not in the Royals lineup for the first time since July 3 with Drew Butera behind the plate with a day game after a night game. Perez was in a 2-for-23 skid with eight strikeouts and no walks over six games before delivering a pinch single in the ninth.
The Rangers wrapped up a nine-game, 10-day trip Sunday and play their next seven at Globe Life Park. They have played only four home games in the past 28 days from June 27 to July 24.
RANGERS SIGN BRESLOW
Left-hander Craig Breslow, who was released Monday by the Marlins, has signed a minor league contract with the Rangers and assigned to Triple-A Round Rock. Breslow, 35, is 22-29 with a 3.35 ERA in 539 games in the majors with San Diego, Boston, Cleveland, Minnesota, Oakland, Arizona and Miami.
Rangers: General manager Jon Daniels said he anticipates LHP Derek Holland and RHP Colby Lewis will return to the rotation on Aug. 20 and 21, the dates they are eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list.
Royals: OF Lorenzo Cain (left hamstring strain) ran before the game. “He’s making progress,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We’ll evaluate it tomorrow.”
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez, who has lost his past three starts, will start against the Athletics at Arlington.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy, who starts the series opener against the Angels, allowed four home runs in a Wednesday loss to the Indians and is tied with teammate Chris Young in allowing a major league-high 26 homers.