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Rangers, Royals open series eager to end June swoons

Two teams that have done their share of swooning in June face off Friday night when the Kansas City Royals open a three-game series against the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

Both teams have sputtered to 7-10 records so far this month. The Rangers, who have lost five of their past six games, are in third place in the American League West, 8 1/2 games behind the Seattle Mariners. The Royals, who are just 3-8 over their past 11 games, are second in the AL Central, six games behind the Cleveland Guardians.

Right-hander Brady Singer (4-4, 3.39 ERA) will start the series opener for Kansas City while right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (3-3, 3.15) gets the nod for the Rangers.

Singer has gone four starts since his latest win on May 19 against the Oakland Athletics. He has lost his past two starts, including a 3-0 road defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, when he yielded two home runs to Shohei Ohtani and another to Freddie Freeman.

Singer is 0-3 with a 6.05 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers. He pitched well against them in a May 3 start at Kansas City, allowing one run on four hits over six innings while striking out eight in a 7-1 Royals win.

Eovaldi is 4-2 with a 4.40 ERA in nine career appearances (seven starts) against Kansas City. He allowed four runs on four hits and four walks in three innings, striking out six, in a 7-5 road loss to the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Both teams enter the contest after ending losing streaks. Texas snapped a five-game skid with a 5-3 win over the visiting New York Mets on Wednesday. Leody Taveras, who was in a 2-for-43 (.047) slump, entered as a sub and socked a two-run, go-ahead home run in the seventh inning for the game-winner.

“No getting around it, we did (need a win),” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “Leo, to come into a game like that and hit a home run, it’s good to see him come in and do something really good. I know he’s been fighting it a little bit.”

Kansas City snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory at Oakland on Thursday afternoon. Bobby Witt Jr. hit a 422-foot, go-ahead homer in the eighth inning after the A’s had rallied to the contest 2-2 in the seventh on a two-run blast by Zack Gelof off Seth Lugo. It was Witt’s first home run since June 4.

“Bobby, I know he was frustrated with himself the last couple of days,” Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro said. “And I think he took some aggression out on that one, and kind of hurt our hands coming back through the dugout, too. Really happy for him. It’s a huge spot for the team, which is what he cares about.”

“I wasn’t frustrated going into the at-bat,” said Witt, who leads the major leagues with a .322 average to go along with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs. “More so, just trying to make something happen. It’s frustrating losing, so I knew we needed to do something to get a win.”

The Rangers and Royals met in Kansas City from May 3-5, with Texas winning two of the three contests.

–Field Level Media

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