Michael Young delivers clutch hit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It’s stretch drive time for the Rangers and Michael Young is right in the middle of it all.

On Monday and Tuesday, he was the designated hitter. On Wednesday, he was the second baseman. On Thursday, he was the shortstop.

Whatever it takes, Young is up for the challenge. The veteran capped off a strong series with a game-winning single in the 10th inning Thursday as the Rangers nipped the Royals 5-4 to take three of four and win their sixth consecutive series.

With Kansas City closer Greg Holland on the mound, Ian Kinsler led off the 10th with a triple. That brought up Young, who was hitting in the No. 2 slot with Elvis Andrus not in the starting lineup. Young promptly lined a single to center and Joe Nathan came on to close it out with his 30th save.

“We played really well here and so did they,” Young said. “They gave us a good challenge. We scored when we had to, made plays when we had to and came out of here with three wins."

With the infield in, Young wanted to make sure he didn’t hit a grounder right at somebody on his crucial at-bat in the 10th.

“You try to use the middle of the field and stay as short and quick to the ball as you possibly can,” Young said. “I wanted to get something up in the zone that I could hit on a line or higher.”

Young, who homered twice in the series, wasn’t the guy Kansas City wanted to see at the plate in a key situation. It was also Young who started a three-run rally in the fourth with the first Texas hit after Luke Hochevar had retired the first 10 batters.

“Michael Young has been grinding since Day 1,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “There’s no change in him. The only thing is, things are working now. I believe in Michael Young and I’m going to play Michael Young.”

Young’s game winner Thursday was the 2,201st hit of his career. And Washington is convinced that there are plenty of hits left in Young’s bat.

“He has done a lot of things in 11 years,” Washington said. “I’m on his ship.”