- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Nick Tepesch grew up close enough to Kauffman Stadium that he drove past it plenty of times as a kid. His high school team even played in the ballpark, though he had never taken the mound.

That is until Wednesday night.

Tepesch had a memorable outing for the Texas Rangers, even if the result wasn’t exactly what he hoped it would be, pitching well into the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals. Tepesch just made a few too many mistakes in what turned into a 4-1 defeat.

“From the first inning I felt comfortable on the mound and good with my mechanics,” said Tepesch, who grew up in Blue Springs, Missouri. “I felt like I was making pitches.”

Just not quite enough. Tepesch (4-9) allowed all four runs over 6 2-3 innings.

“I felt he did a good job of keeping us in the ball game,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We just haven’t been able to put enough runs on the board.”

That problem manifested itself again Wednesday night. The Rangers were 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position, making them 3 for 28 over the course of the series.

That was more than enough to doom Texas to its fifth straight loss.

“We put ourselves in position,” Washington said. “It wasn’t just one part of the lineup. It was up and down. It was almost everybody had an opportunity.”

Jason Vargas (11-7) stranded four runners in scoring position before turning over a two-on, two-out mess to Kelvin Herrera, who escaped the jam. Louis Coleman gave up a run in the eighth before Wade Davis finished it off, and Greg Holland worked a perfect ninth for his 42nd save.

The sweep of Texas was the first at home for the Royals in seven seasons.

“I guess momentum is nice,” Royals manager Ned Yost said, “but I don’t believe in that stuff too much. You know we have to go play good baseball. We have to do what we do.”

The Royals grabbed the lead in the fourth when Omar Infante led off with a single and Alex Gordon homered to deep center. In the seventh, Salvador Perez and Billy Butler doubled to provide a bit of cushion, and pinch runner Terrance Gore scored on a stolen base and a throwing error.

The victory along with Detroit’s 7-0 loss to Cleveland allowed the Royals to extend their lead to 1 1/2 games over the Tigers in the AL Central. They are off Thursday before a crucial trip that takes them through the wild card-chasing Yankees and into a three-game set in Detroit.

“Just have to keep it going,” Vargas said.

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