ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer retired 15 of the 16 batters he faced over five scoreless innings in his season debut, rookie Wyatt Langford extended his RBI streak to five games and the Texas Rangers beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 on Sunday to complete a three-game series sweep.

“It was just fun to get back out there and compete,” said Scherzer, who retired the first 13 Royals in his first start for Texas since Game 3 of last fall's World Series.

José Ureña went the final four innings for his first save and extended the Rangers' consecutive scoreless innings pitched streak to a season-high 22, their longest since 23 in September 2016. Ureña and and Scherzer combined to throw 99 pitches in the team's seventh shutout this season, and second time in back-to-back games.

Josh Smith homered for the Rangers (37-40), who matched their season high by winning their fourth game in a row. It was the first three-game sweep of the season for the reigning World Series champions.

The Royals ended a 2-7 road trip, though at 42-37 overall, they have 20 wins more than at the same point last season. They were shut out for the fourth time this season, three on the trip that ended with being held scoreless the last two games in Texas.

Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro missed the series finale to tend to a personal manner, so bench coach Paul Hoover managed the game.

Texas went ahead for good on Langford's RBI double in the fourth off Alec Marsh (5-5). Langford had a grand slam in Saturday's 6-0 win and has 10 RBIs in the last five games. Leody Taveras was 5 for 58 in June before his bloop two-run single later in the fourth, and Smith homered leading off the seventh.

Scherzer (1-0) struck out four while allowing only one hit and no walks. The right-hander threw 39 of his 57 pitches for strikes in his first start since exiting that World Series game on Oct. 30 after three innings because of back tightness. He left after five innings Sunday following a dugout conversation with manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Mike Maddux.

“Everything from a baseball standpoint was telling me to go back out there. You know, I’m pitching well, I’m throwing the ball well,” Scherzer said. “I just don’t know how I’m going to recover from this. ... I was feeling my forearm kind of fatigued.”

The 39-year-old Scherzer, who turns 40 on July 27, had surgery in mid-December to repair a herniated disk in his lower back. Then during his rehab he dealt with a nerve issue that was diagnosed and is still bothering him after he experienced right thumb soreness.

MJ Melendez was the only Royal to reach base against Scherzer, with a ground-rule double in the fifth.

“He just competes,” Hoover said of Scherzer. “He keeps the hitters off balance, will attack early but then nibble late. He's been doing it for a long time, and he showed that today.”

Scherzer's fourth and final strikeout was the 3,371st in his career to match Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux for 11th on MLB’s career list. Maddux, a four-time Cy Young winner, is the brother of the Texas pitching coach.

Marsh struck out four while allowing three runs and eight hits over 5 2/3 innings.


Royals: Adam Frazier was scratched from the starting lineup because of a right thumb sprain sustained playing in the outfield Saturday. He was initially set to lead off as the designated hitter for the series finale.

Rangers: RHP Yerry Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room on the active roster for Scherzer.


Royals: After nine road games in 10 days, the Royals play the first of 10 home games over 11 days on Monday night against Miami, with LHP Cole Ragans (4-5, 3.13 ERA) set to start.

Rangers: Michael Lorenzen (4-3, 3.00) is the scheduled starter on Monday night when the Rangers play their first game at Milwaukee since 2019.



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