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Slumping Royals fall to Rangers, 3-1

The Royals’ Billy Butler (16) is tagged out at home plate by Rangers catcher Geovany Soto during the second inning Sunday in Arlington, Texas.

The Royals’ Billy Butler (16) is tagged out at home plate by Rangers catcher Geovany Soto during the second inning Sunday in Arlington, Texas. Photo by The Associated Press.

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Kansas City Royals seemed to be on the verge of breaking through against Texas ace Yu Darvish.

Instead, theys came up to empty and were lamenting those missed chances after another tough loss.

Jurickson Profar hit a tiebreaking home run off J.C. Gutierrez with two outs in the eighth inning Sunday, lifting the Texas Rangers over Kansas City 3-1.

Afterwards, Ned Yost was frustrated the Royals missed two chances to score against Darvish early.

Kansas City loaded the bases with no outs in the second. They couldn’t score, however, when Billy Butler was thrown out at home by Craig Gentry trying to score on a fly ball.

The Royals also failed to come through with runners on second and third in the fourth.

“We were in a position to do some damage,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We had our opportunities and it just didn’t happen. We have to start picking up some of those opportunities.”

Kansas City, which hired Hall of Famer George Brett as interim hitting coach Thursday, has lost 10-of-12. The Royals haven’t scored more than four runs in a game since May 21.

“We were right there,” Butler said. “We were one pitch away, one hit away at every point in that game. It’s very frustrating.”

The Royals felt they should have had the lead when Gutierrez (0-1) came into the game in the eighth. Alex Gordon scored on a fielder’s choice in the top half of the inning to tie the game at 1-all.

Gutierrez retired the first two batters of the inning before the 20-year-old Profar came up to the plate. He lined a 1-2 pitch into the seats in right.

Manager Ron Washington was the first to greet a smiling Profar in the dugout. With a big grin of his own, Washington snagged the batting helmet off Profar’s head before he was mobbed by teammates.

“What I get a kick out of is he’s not afraid of baseball,” Washington said. “Opportunities like today are what that young kid lives for. No one in the ballpark expected that. But he gave us a lift right there. He rose to the occasion.”

David Murphy added an RBI single later in the inning to make it 3-1.

Tanner Scheppers (4-0) got two outs in the eighth and Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances.

Darvish allowed three hits, walked two and struck out six as he left with a 1-0 lead after seven innings.

After the game, Darvish said he felt fatigued after throwing 99 pitches. Washington added Darvish told him he was out of gas and didn’t want the Japanese ace to fight through another inning.

Neal Cotts replaced Darvish to start the top of the eighth.

The Rangers were without All-Star third baseman Adrian Beltre, who didn’t play because of a strained left hamstring. Washington said Beltre may be back in the lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

Kansas City starter Ervin Santana allowed an unearned run and three singles in seven innings. The right-hander had lost his last four starts coming in.

Santana didn’t allow a hit until Nelson Cruz singled with one out in the fourth.

Gordon, who snapped a 14 at-bat hitless streak earlier in the game, led off the eighth with a broken-bat double against Cotts. Alcides Escobar had a sacrifice bunt that moved Gordon to third.

Eric Hosmer hit a chopper to Jeff Baker, who played third base in place of Beltre. Baker’s throw home was wild and Gordon scored easily to tie the game.

With the bases loaded and no outs in the second, Jeff Francoeur hit a liner to center and Gentry made a running catch. Gentry made a perfect throw to home plate and catcher Geovany Soto just got the tag on a sliding Butler.

“That’s just the way everything’s been going for us,” Butler said. “Just a half step here, half step there, a couple of inches here. It’s a game of inches and we’re just falling on the wrong side of it now.”

Notes: Rangers RHP Alexi Ogando will come off the disabled list and is scheduled to start Wednesday at Boston. Ogando (4-2) has been sidelined since May 16 with right biceps tendinitis. ... Kansas City OF David Lough did not play a day after getting hit on the right wrist by a pitch with the bases loaded in the 10th inning Saturday. X-rays on the wrist were negative. ... Brett and Rangers executive Nolan Ryan exchanged lineup cards before the game with umpire Dale Scott, who was behind home plate for the pair’s final game Oct. 3, 1993. Brett went 1-for-4 that day, Ryan was injured and didn’t play.

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