ARLINGTON -- Scott Baker was asked to do just enough.
The requirements of Baker weren't to throw a complete game or get to the late innings. Pitch for as long as you can within the confines of 70 pitches.
There is some uncertainty in the rotation with Yu Darvish nursing a balky right elbow and Derek Holland nearing a return after five rehab starts. The Rangers have three young kids and Colby Lewis pitching and Baker fills in when he can.
He held the Royals to just one run, a Billy Butler homer in the fourth, on five hits to earn his second win of the season and first as a starter.
Baker had this funny stat, well depending on your point of view, associated with his name. Earlier this month the Rangers had been 0-20 in games he pitched. Now when you’re the long reliever entering games in which your team trails and an emergency starter, with this offense you won't get many chances for come-from-behind victories.
Baker won a game in relief Aug. 12 vs. Tampa Bay to end the spell. He's on a two-game win streak now thanks to a gritty effort that ended a two-game losing streak.
How it happened: It started early as Adrian Beltre doubled home Daniel Robertson with the first run. In the second inning, Adam Rosales doubled home Leonys Martin and Robinson Chirinos singled in Alex Rios for a 3-0 lead after three innings of work.
The Rangers' subs, Rosales for Beltre at third and Chirinos for Geovany Soto (who was traded before the game) at catcher were the stars of the game from the plate.
Of course, Baker did his part to make everything hold before the bullpen secured the victory with four innings of work.
The homestand: This was a brief homestand, three games, and the Rangers salvaged something of it by winning on Sunday. The Rangers are now 12-26-4 in 42 total series and are 0-4-1 in the last five. Winning at home seems like a burden for the Rangers, who are 24-40 at Globe Life Park and just 2-12-3 in the last 17 home series.
Chirinos takes over: When Soto was traded to Oakland for cash considerations, it meant Chirinos would take over. In four at-bats, Chirinos reached base three times, twice on singles, and he drove in the third run of the game. He was in quite a slump of late with just three hits in his last 27 at-bats. But now with Soto gone, Chirinos becomes the full-time catcher again.
Martin starts vs. LHP: Manager Ron Washington wants Martin to earn the right to start against left-handed starters. On the season, Martin has a slash line of .202/.233/.232 against lefties. Sunday he started and reached on a bunt single and flew out to left in three at-bats against Jason Vargas.