Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - An RBI single from Salvador Perez in the bottom of the eighth inning was the difference, as the Kansas City Royals clipped the Texas Rangers by a 2-1 count in the middle test of a three-game series.
Norichika Aoki doubled twice and knocked in the other run for the Royals, who remained atop the AL Central by a half-game over Detroit, which won again at Cleveland earlier on Tuesday.
Jason Frasor (4-1) retired two batters in the eighth inning, while Aaron Crow tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his third save. Jeremy Guthrie went the first seven, giving up eight hits and one run.
"I knew if we got to the ninth with the lead, it'd be Aaron," Royals manager Ned Yost said. Usual closer Greg Holland was unavailable after pitching three consecutive days.
Alex Rios picked up three hits and Dan Robertson drove in the lone run for the Rangers, who have dropped four straight.
Michael Kirkman (0-1) was charged with the lead run while recording two outs in the eighth. Derek Holland pitched well in his season debut, allowing a run on six hits while fanning six.
"It's like Opening Day for me," Holland said.
In the eighth, Jarrod Dyson reached on a fielder's choice, stole second and third. Alex Gordon was plunked and Kirkman exited for Jon Edwards, who served up a scorching ball from Perez to deep third which deflected off the glove of Adrian Beltre and was enough to bring Dyson home to put KC up 2-1.
Crow gave up a two-out hit to Rougned Odor but locked down the victory by striking out pinch-hitter Luis Sardinas.
Alcides Escobar led off the home third with a double, moved up on a sacrifice and scored the game's first run on an Aoki double.
Odor kicked off the Texas fifth with a triple and came home on a Robertson groundout.
The Royals recalled infielder Christian Colon, outfielder Terrance Gore and pitchers Aaron Crow and Liam Hendriks from Double-A Northwest Arkansas as rosters expanded ... Colon suffered a broken middle finger and is expected to be out "a while" according to a team source ... Before the contest, the Rangers recalled pitchers Lisalverto Bonilla, Nick Tepesch and Sardinas Triple-A Round Rock, selected the contract of Kirkman from Round Rock and transferred pitcher Tanner Scheppers to the 60-day disabled list.