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September 21, 2013

Rangers 3, Royals 1 (F)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Matt Garza took a shutout into the ninth inning Saturday night, and Elvis Andrus drove in a run and scored another as the Rangers beat Kansas City 3-1 at a sold-out Kauffman Stadium.

The win kept the Rangers a game behind Tampa Bay and a half-game behind Cleveland in the race for the American League wild-card spots.

Garza started the ninth inning at 93 pitches, but Eric Hosmer connected for an opposite-field homer to spoil the shutout bid. Joe Nathan entered and retired the next three hitters to register his 40th save of the season.

The effort was Garza's best since joining the Rangers on July 22, and he won for the first time since beating Houston on Aug. 19. He allowed just five hits and struck out five while walking only one.

The Rangers got going early as Ian Kinsler opened the game with a leadoff triple and scored as the next batter, Elvis Andrus, grounded to shortstop.

They added two more in the third after Andrus and Alex Rios took back-to-back one-out walks. Adrian Beltre was next, and his grounder up the middle got past right-hander Jeremy Guthrie and snuck through second baseman Emilio Bonafacio after hitting the base.

Andrus scored, and Rios went to third. A.J. Pierzynski plated Rios with a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead.

Garza, meanwhile, was in complete command. He allowed a one-out single in the first before retiring the next 10. He walked Billy Butler with two outs in the fourth and issued a two-out triple to Jarrod Dyson in the fifth.

That triple, which could have been scored an error on Mitch Moreland, gave the Royals their lone runner to get past first against Garza until Alcides Esocobar doubled with one out in the eighth.

Garza, though, got Alex Gordon on a lineout and caught Bonafacio looking.

-- Jeff Wilson

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