The Texas Rangers have a knack for scoring quickly. Kansas City Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura has a tendency for giving up early runs.
That formula worked well for the Rangers in beating the Royals 4-2 on Saturday.
The Rangers have won nine straight when they score in the first inning.
"It's always crucial when you're on the road or anytime to get on the board first," Rangers manager Jeff Bannister said. "Against a pitcher like we faced today, if you can get to him early, we feel like that's a benefit to us.
Staked to an early 4-0 lead, Wandy Rodriguez held the Royals to one run and six hits over seven innings.
"We feel very good as a starter," Rodriguez said when the Rangers jump out to a quick advantage. "We try to make the hitter swing quick, one pitch, one out."
Texas has won six straight series for the first time since 2012. The AL champion Royals have lost nine of 11.
Rodriguez (3-2), a 36-year-old lefty who signed with the Rangers in early April after Atlanta released him in spring training, gave up one run and six hits. He walked none and struck out four.
"I had a very good curve today, which I used a lot and my location was good, too," Rodriguez said. "I had a good two-seam away and a good four-seam inside.
Shawn Tolleson gave up a home run to Salvador Perez in the ninth, but picked up his seven seventh save in as many opportunities.
Ventura (3-5) allowed four runs in the first two innings. He threw 78 pitches and was pulled after the third in his shortest outing of the season.
Ventura has a 6.14 ERA in the first two innings in his 11 starts with opponents hitting .314 off him. He has yielded 15 runs on 27 hits, seven walks and two hit batters in the first two innings.
Ventura gave up six hits, walked two and hit a batter against Texas.
"I was a little wild at first," Ventura said with teammate Christian Colon acting as his translator. "I felt like I settled down a little bit. It was one of those days. It wasn't working.
The Royals avoided their second straight shutout when Jarrod Dyson led off the sixth with a double, his fifth straight hit, and scored on Mike Moustakas' single.
Shin-Soo Choo had two hits, including a two-run double in the second. Choo also scored in the two-run first inning, when the Rangers had four straight hits off Ventura.
Prince Fielder singled twice for his 26th multihit game, which tops the majors. He also leads the AL with a .356 batting average and 79 hits.
Joe Blanton threw 3 1-3 scoreless innings and 51 pitches after Ventura exited. Blanton has worked in three straight games.
Rangers: 1B-OF Kyle Blanks (cyst removed) ran the bases before the game and could be activated in the next few days.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (biceps tendinitis) threw off the mound Saturday and could begin a rehab assignment next week.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis has an 8.86 ERA in his past four starts, but has won two of them.
Royals: RHP Jeremy Guthrie is 23-11 with a 2.70 ERA with Kansas City in games when he has not allowed a home run. He is 14-18 with a 5.57 ERA when he yields at least one HR.