Matt Garza earned his first quality start in September, throwing eight-plus innings of five-hit, one run ball in a 3-1 Ranger win over Kansas City Saturday night.
Garza threw no more than 15 pitches in any inning, and retired the leadoff hitter in each of the first eight innings.
Eric Hosmer hit an opposite-field home run to lead off the ninth and end Garza’s chance for a shutout before Joe Nathan came on to earn save no. 40 of the season.
The five hits Garza allowed match his second lowest total given up as a Ranger.
The bats were quick to back Garza, as it took two batters for the Rangers to plate their first run. Ian Kinsler tripled to lead off the game, and Elvis Andrus followed with an RBI groundout to shortstop.
The Rangers capitalized with runners in scoring position again in the third inning after Andrus and Alex Rios walked with one out. Adrian Beltre hit an RBI single up the middle that rolled over the mound, off second base and under two gloves on its way into center field.
A.J. Pierzynski followed with a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Rios from third.
Texas put a runner at second base with one out in both the fourth and fifth innings. David Murphy doubled with one out in the fourth, and Rios singled and reached second on an error in the fifth. The Rangers missed a chance with Craig Gentry on second with two out in the sixth.
But, the three early runs were enough, as the Royals had only two runners in scoring position through the first eight innings. Jarrod Dyson tripled with two out in the fifth, and Alcides Escobar doubled with one out in the eighth inning.
It was the second time Garza has gone eight innings in a start for the Rangers, the last time being on Aug. 4 against Oakland. Garza pitched eight innings twice for the Cubs in 2013.
And it was an efficient eight-plus innings for Garza.
The righty finished with 97 pitches, throwing just over 12 pitches per inning. His average as a Ranger stood at 15.8 pitches per inning entering Saturday’s game.
Gentry went 3-for-4, marking his second consecutive start in which he recorded multiple hits. He also stole a base Saturday, his eighteenth of the year.
He and Beltre were the only Rangers to record multiple hits Saturday.
Jeremy Guthrie pitched six innings, allowing three runs and throwing exactly 100 pitches while earning the loss. Three Kansas City relievers combined to throw the final three scoreless innings.
Game three of the three-game series between the two clubs is set for 1:10 p.m. Sunday afternoon.