Rangers win 4-0 against Royals in Scherzers season debut


Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer retired 15 of the 16 batters he faced over five scoreless innings in his season debut, rookie Wyatt Langford extended his RBI streak to five games and the Texas Rangers beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 on Sunday to complete a three-game series sweep.

José Ureña pitched the final four innings for his first save and extended the Rangers’ consecutive scoreless innings pitched streak to a season-high 22, their longest since 23 in a row in September 2016.

Josh Smith homered for the Rangers (37-40), who matched their season high by winning their fourth game in a row. It was the first three-game sweep of the season for the reigning World Series champions.

The Royals ended a 2-7 road trip, though at 42-37 overall, they have 20 wins more than at the same point last season. They were shut out for the fourth time this season, including three on the trip that ended with being held scoreless the last two games in Texas.

Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro missed the series finale to tend to a personal manner, so bench coach Paul Hoover managed the game.

Texas went ahead for good on Langford’s RBI double in the fourth off Alec Marsh (5-5). Langford had a grand slam in Saturday’s 6-0 win and has 10 RBIs in the last five games. Leody Taveras was 5 for 58 in June before his two-run single later in the fourth, and Josh Smith homered leading off the seventh.

Scherzer (1-0) struck out four while allowing only one hit and now walks. The right-hander threw 39 of his 57 pitches for strikes in his first start since exiting Game 3 of the World Series last Oct. 30 after three innings because of back tightness. His fastball was consistently in the 92-94 mph range.

The 39-year-old pitcher, who turns 40 on July 27, had surgery in mid-December to repair a herniated disk in his lower back, then during his rehab dealt with a nerve issue that was diagnosed after he experienced right thumb soreness.

MJ Melendez had the only Royals hit off Scherzer, a ground-rule double that bounced into the Texas bullpen in the right-center field gap.

Scherzer’s fourth and final strikeout was the 3,371st in his career to match Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux for 11th on MLB’s career list. Maddux, a four-time Cy Young winner, is the brother of Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux.

Marsh struck out four while allowing three runs and eight hits over 5 2/3 innings.

RHP Yerry Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room on the active roster for Scherzer.

Rangers: Michael Lorenzen (4-3, 3.00) is the scheduled starter on Monday night when the Rangers play their first game at Milwaukee since 2019.