KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals had the go-ahead run on second base with nobody out in the eighth inning. Jarrod Dyson got the sign to bunt and failed miserably on two strikes, then chopped a grounder to first base that got his teammate thrown out.
“I was real frustrated,” Dyson said later, shaking his head.
So he did something about it.
The speedster swiped second base and then third, getting into position for Salvador Perez to drive him in with a scorching liner off the glove of third baseman Adrian Beltre for a single. The run proved to be the decider in a 2-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night that kept Kansas City atop the AL Central by a half-game over Detroit.
“When I got to first, I knew I had to make up for it. I had to steal a couple of bags,” Dyson said. “Then Salvy did a great job. Good piece of hitting to get me in.”
Jason Frasor (4-1) left runners on the corners in the eighth against his former team, and Aaron Crow worked around a two-out single in the ninth for his third save of the season.
All-Star closer Greg Holland was unavailable after pitching three consecutive days.
“Phenomenal job,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Crow, who had just been recalled from Double-A Northwest Arkansas. “I knew if we got to the ninth with the lead, it’d be Aaron.”
The Rangers’ Derek Holland and counterpart Jeremy Guthrie pitched to a stalemate through seven innings before the Royals broke through against Michael Kirkman (0-1) in the eighth.
The Royals’ Nori Aoki and the Rangers’ Daniel Robertson drove in the game’s other runs.
Guthrie kept dodging trouble until the fifth, when Roughned Odor tripled to start the inning. Robertson drove him in with a groundout to tie the game.
Guthrie proceeded to battle through two more innings on a night when the Royals were short on bullpen help. Top relievers Kelvin Herrera had also pitched three straight nights.