One pitch, one run. And then it was smooth sailing for Jeremy Guthrie.
Guthrie gave up a leadoff home run by Shin-Soo Choo, but didn't allow another run over eight innings as the Kansas City Royals beat the Texas Rangers 6-3 Saturday night for their 24th win in 30 games.
Alex Gordon had two hits, including a first-inning homer for his 15th of the season, and made a diving catch in left field for the AL Central leaders.
Guthrie (10-10) won for the fifth time in six starts. After Choo's homer, he retired 12 straight and gave up only four more hits. He struck out two, walked one and left after the eighth with a 6-1 lead.
"The mistakes I made, we got fortunate," Guthrie said. "Not too many were hit hard. The biggest thing was I was trying to stay aggressive and keep the pitch count as low as I could and try to get deep."
Royals manager Ned Yost had no quarrel with the pitch that gave Texas an immediate 1-0 lead.
"The first pitch was actually a pretty good pitch," Yost said. "It was a fastball that was down. You're trying to get ahead with the first pitch of the game."
The Royals broke a 1-all tie by scoring three runs in the fifth inning, capitalizing on the wildness of Nick Tepesch (4-8). He gave up three four-pitch walks and two singles that inning.
Jarrod Dyson drove in three runs, matching a career high, with a bases-loaded walk and a two-run single for the Royals.
Aaron Crow worked the ninth for Kansas City, allowing two runs.
Tepesch allowed six runs on seven hits and three walks in 6 1-3 innings. With the bases loaded in the fifth, he walked Dyson and allowed a two-run single to Omar Infante on an 0-2 pitch.
"I felt like I was little all over the place all night," Tepesch said. "I think that inning was just the worst of it."
Dyson chased Tepesch in the seventh with the two-run single on which Lorenzo Cain slid in with the second run. The safe call was confirmed by video replay following a challenge by Texas manager Ron Washington.
"The more you win, the more you believe," Dyson said. "It's like routine to you. So that's probably why we're going so good right now."
Yost, a former major league catcher, said he thinks Salvador Perez, his two-time All-Star backstop, will be as good as Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, the former 14-time All-Star.
"That's just my opinion," Yost said, "though it's a bit of an expert opinion."
Billy Butler, normally the Royals' DH and now their first baseman with Eric Hosmer sidelined, caught a high popup in the second inning and doffed his cap toward the Kansas City dugout. On Friday night, a similar ball eluded him but landed foul.
"When Billy caught it, he was quite relieved," Yost said, "and he knew that his dugout-mates were equally as relieved."
Royals: Hosmer, out with a stress fracture on his right hand since Aug. 2, is expected to undergo another X-ray on Monday after the team returns home.
Rangers: LHP Derek Holland was scratched from a scheduled rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday after experiencing back spasms Friday.
Texas RHP Scott Baker (1-3) will make his fifth spot start of the season on Sunday in the regular spot of Yu Darvish, out since Aug. 9 with elbow inflammation. Baker has pitched only 7 2-3 innings since the All-Star break. He'll oppose LHP Jason Vargas (10-5), whose road ERA of 2.07 is fifth-lowest in the AL.
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