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ARLINGTON (AP) — Rougned Odor homered twice, and A.J. Griffin also went a little deeper for the Texas Rangers.
Odor hit a ball into the second deck of seats for the second game in a row, along with another solo shot that just cleared the wall, and Griffin had his longest outing in seven starts since coming off the disabled list in the Rangers’ 8-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
“I felt like that was a big step. I made a little adjustment in my delivery. I was more direct to the target,” said Griffin, who was out of the majors the past two seasons after Tommy John surgery. “Two years off from pitching is a long time. It caught up with me a little bit. I feel like I am getting that second wind. My shoulder’s responding a lot better with each outing.”
Griffin (4-1) is the only Texas starter other than All-Star lefty Cole Hamels with a win in July.
The right-hander has been back just over a month from the disabled list, getting sidelined by right shoulder stiffness after going 3-1 in six starts through the first week of May. He struck out one and walked two while throwing 66 of 98 pitches for strikes in 5 2-3 innings.
“Probably the best he’s used the up-to-down game,” manager Jeff Banister said. “The high fastball, low fastball, cutter, not really focusing on one location at the plate.”
Jurickson Profar also homered for the AL West-leading Rangers, and scored three runs.
Odor’s solo homer in the first put Texas up 3-0 against Edinson Volquez (8-9). That 443-foot drive into the second deck in right field came a night after Odor’s 465-footer that is the longest in his career. His 21st homer, in the seventh, barely cleared the 8-foot wall in right.
“I don’t try to hit homers, but if I hit it I feel good,” Odor said.
Eric Hosmer homered for the defending World Series champion Royals, who dropped to 10 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central. It is the first time Kansas City, also the AL champion in 2014, has been 10 games back in the division since a 10 1/2-game deficit on Aug. 31, 2013.
“Offense has been sporadic. It’s just been tough. You just come to the ballpark the next day ready to find a way to win a game,” manager Ned Yost said. “Keep grinding away. … Your mindset is there’s a couple months left of baseball to play.”
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