Fittingly, on a wild night, the winning run scored on a wild pitch.
Cliff Lee failed to get out of the fifth inning Tuesday night, allowing seven runs, and the Texas Rangers missed a golden opportunity to extend their American League West lead in a 10-9 loss to Kansas City in which the winning run came on a pitch to the backstop.
The Royals got a leadoff double from Wilson Betemit to start the ninth inning against Darren Oliver, who then struck out Kila Ka’Aihue but walked Brayan Pena on four pitches.
That brought up Alex Gordon in a lefty-lefty matchup. During the at-bat, pinch-runner Willie Bloomquist stole third. Gordon struck out, and manager Ron Washington went to Alexi Ogando for a righty-righty matchup with Yuniesky Betancourt.
But the stolen base proved to be big. Ogando uncorked a wild pitch on a 3-0 count to Betancourt, and Bloomquist just beat the tag of Ogando on a relay from Matt Treanor.
Second-place Oakland was routed at New York for a second straight night, but the Rangers’ loss kept their West lead at 8 ½ games with 30 to play.
The Rangers wasted home runs from Vladimir Guerrero, Michael Young, David Murphy and Mitch Moreland. Young was 4 for 5, Guerrero was 2 for 5 with three RBIs, and Elvis Andrus was 3 for 5 with three runs scored as the Rangers collected 16 hits.
But Lee had his shortest outing of the season. The Rangers led 1-0, 2-1 and 6-4, but Lee couldn’t hold any of those leads. Kansas City responded to a three-run fifth with five two-out runs in their half of the inning. Three were charged to Lee, and two to Matt Harrison.
Lee’s final line: 4 2/3 innings, 10 hits, seven runs, four earned and five strikeouts on 108 pitches.
But Kansas City’s bullpen wasn’t much better than starter Sean O’Sullivan, who allowed six runs in five innings. The Rangers responded with three runs in the sixth to forge a 9-9 tie. Included was a one-out solo shot by Moreland and three straight doubles from Andrus, Young and Josh Hamilton. The last two drove in runs.
The Rangers had a chance in the eighth to snap the tie, loading the bases with two outs, but Guerrero bounced out to second base.
-- Jeff Wilson