ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Nate Lowe’s three hits included his first career triple in the majors as the Texas Rangers dominated their former All-Star Mike Minor and beat the Kansas City Royals 9-4 on Friday night.
Playing his 146th game in the big leagues, Lowe’s two-run triple highlighted a four-run fourth inning.
Rookie Jonah Heim matched career highs with three hits and two RBIs for Texas.
Dane Dunning (3-6) won for the first time since May 9, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks in five innings. After allowing an RBI double to Carlos Santana that cut the Rangers’ lead to 4-2, Dunning stranded runners at second and third in the fifth when center fielder Adolis Garcia ran down Salvador Perez’s long flyball in front of the Texas bullpen in right-center.
Lowe’s slicing, opposite-field triple fell just in front of left fielder Hunter Dozier and rolled to the wall. Heim’s single completed the Rangers’ scoring in the fourth and he hit an RBI double in a five-run sixth.
Lowe is hitting .423 during a seven-game hitting streak after seeing his batting average drop from .289 on May 11 to .237 on June 11.
“Just getting back to being me,” Lowe said. “I went through a rough patch there, but that’s part of growing up, being a major league player and part of figuring out what I need to do to get better.”
Minor (6-5), an All-Star for the Rangers in 2019 who traded at the deadline in 2020, allowed a career-high nine earned runs in five-plus innings in his 197th career start. His 11 hits allowed tied a career high.
The Royals have lost three straight games and 15 of their last 19.
“Even when I made the pitches, they got hits,” Minor said. “That might have been one of my worst games statistically in my career, but I don’t feel like I’m going to change a whole lot.”
Royals manager Mike Matheny watched the 33-year-old Minor’s first three innings, allowing only two hits on 37 pitches, and, “I truly thought we were watching our first complete game of the season the way he was rolling.”
“We know Mike well. He was pretty good early on I felt like. Kind of got on that changeup. Got some big hits,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said.
Whit Merrifield gave the Royals a 1-0 lead in the third with a two-out triple to right-center that sailed just under the glove of a diving Garcia. The triple, Kansas City’s first hit of the game, came on an eight-pitch at-bat and extended Merrifield’s hitting streak to 11 games.
DUFFY OUT OF THE PEN
Royals LHP Danny Duffy, who last Wednesday made his first start since May 12 after recovering from a strained forearm, made his second relief appearance since 2016 and retired all three batters in the seventh with one strikeout.
Matheny said he still plans to start Duffy in the Royals’ next series at Boston, looking to get significant innings but not deep pitch counts.
It was Lowe’s second three-hit game of the season. … Rangers pitching snapped a franchise-record 19-game streak for allowing a home run. … Merrifield went 2 for 4 and is batting .375 during his hitting streak. … Dunning’s 85 pitches were four short of his season high, which came in the May 9 win, 10-2 over Seattle.
Rangers OF David Dahl (rib cage, upper back) worked out at Globe Life Field on Friday instead of playing for Double-A Frisco but remains on his minor-league rehab assignment.
Royals RHP Kyle Zimmer (3-0, 2.48) will make his second start of the season, with three innings being the longest of the 26 appearances this season. Rangers RHP Kyle Gibson (5-0, 2.17) allowed five earned runs while getting only one out on opening day at Kansas City since then has a 1.63 ERA.
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