The Kansas City Royals are probably hoping to see the regular-season version of Shields in what figures to be a must-win game for their playoff hopes.
These clubs are currently out of the postseason picture, but the visiting Rangers can just about eliminate one of their pursuers while enhancing their own chances with a victory over Shields on Sunday.
Texas (84-70) is one-half game behind Cleveland for the AL's second wild card, with Kansas City 3 1/2 back. The Rangers trail Tampa Bay by one game for the first wild card.
The starters have combined to allow six runs to this point in this three-game series. The Royals won 2-1 on Friday and the Rangers posted a 3-1 victory Saturday."I go day to day," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The only thing I think about is what is it going to take to win tomorrow."
Kansas City (81-73) will hand the ball to Shields (12-9, 3.33 ERA), who seeks his 100th career win and is a workhorse once dubbed 'Big Game James' who leads the AL with 213 2-3 innings.
Shields is 5-1 with a 1.36 ERA and two complete games in his last seven regular-season outings against the Rangers and 7-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 12 such starts overall. That's in contrast to his 0-2 mark and 10.61 ERA in two playoff starts against Texas with Tampa Bay.
Shields, however, has done his part to boost the Royals' playoff hopes with consecutive wins over the Indians in which he allowed three runs over 14 innings with 17 total strikeouts.
"He knows what's at stake and he's getting after it," Yost said. "He's into it."
Elvis Andrus is 11 for 26 in the regular season against Shields, who has been vulnerable at home this year with a 3-6 mark and a 4.73 ERA.
Texas slugger Adrian Beltre is 3 for 8 in this series. Beltre's .374 career batting average at Kauffman Stadium is the highest for an opposing batter with at least 150 plate appearances.
Alex Gordon is hitless in nine at-bats in this series, Salvador Perez is 1 for 8 and Billy Butler 1 for 7 for Kansas City, which will try to avoid losing a home series for the first time since dropping two of three to Washington Aug. 23-25.
The Rangers will look to improve to 4-0 when Alexi Ogando (7-4, 3.15) starts against the Royals. All of those games were in 2011 with Ogando going 1-0 with a 3.79 ERA.
The right-hander was pressed into duty Tuesday and delivered when he allowed one run in five innings in a 7-1 victory at Tampa Bay. It was his first start since Aug. 13 after he missed three weeks due to shoulder inflammation.
"Hopefully we'll see the same thing we saw in Tampa Bay, pound the strike zone and let it all hang out," manager Ron Washington told the Rangers' official website. "Just attack like he did in Tampa. We'd like to see it again."
Butler and Gordon have each gone 1 for 10 off Ogando.
This is the Royals' home finale before they embark on a seven-game trip to face lowly Seattle and the Chicago White Sox.
|September 09, 2013||Jim Adduci||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right biceps|
|September 09, 2013||Yu Darvish||Day-to-Day||Left game - right leg cramping|
|August 25, 2013||Leonys Martin||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|August 20, 2013||Matt West||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|August 14, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|August 14, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|Kansas City Royals|
|September 17, 2013||Carlos Pena||60-Day DL||Appendectomy|
|September 16, 2013||Danny Duffy||Day-to-Day||Flexor tendon inflammation|
|September 08, 2013||Danny Duffy||15-Day DL||Strained left forearm|
|September 05, 2013||Salvador Perez||Day-to-Day||Concussion|
|September 03, 2013||Noel Arguelles||60-Day DL||Left shoulder|
|August 13, 2013||Mike Moustakas||Day-to-Day||Strained left calf|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- If this was the last swing of the season at Kauffman Stadium, it was one to savor.
Justin Maxwell ended the Kansas City Royals ' home season with a two-out grand slam in the 10th inning Sunday for a 4-0 win over the Texas Rangers in a matchup of AL playoff contenders.
"I kind of blacked out after I looked at Gordo ( Alex Gordon ) over there going crazy," Maxwell said. "I just saw the excitement in all my teammates' eyes. I couldn't wait to get around the bases and to home plate."
The Oakland Athletics clinched the AL West with the Rangers' loss.
Texas dropped 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland for the second wild-card spot. Kansas City is 3 1/2 back.
Maxwell connected off former Royals All-Star closer Joakim Soria .
"I've never faced him before," Maxwell said. "With a 3-2 count, bases loaded, two out, I was just looking for a fastball strike and I got one. I didn't try to do really do too much. Paralysis by analysis. I try to dumb it down and try to hit the ball hard."
Soria knew he couldn't afford to throw a borderline pitch and have the winning run score on a walk.
"I had to throw a strike in that situation, and it couldn't be close," Soria said.
Royals starter James Shields gave up six hits in eight innings, walking one and striking out two.
Texas starter Alexi Ogando pitched two-hit ball for seven innings, striking out five and walking one.
Eric Hosmer led off the Royals 10th by punching a double with two strikes down the left-field line off Neal Cotts (5-3). Soria relieved and intentionally walked Billy Butler , and an infield single by Salvador Perez loaded the bases.
Mike Moustakas popped up and pinch-hitter George Kottaras grounded into a force play at the plate before Maxwell's grand slam.
Tim Collins (3-6) worked a perfect 10th to pick up the victory.
Ogando, who had three stints on the disabled list this season, excelled in just his eighth start since May 15. He left after 77 pitches.
"I thought overall it went very well," Ogando said through a translator. "I was really able to locate my pitches and able to
throw them for strikes. You know what's going to happen if you can throw strikes where you want and be able to be aggressive with your pitches."
Maxwell hit a leadoff single in the third and moved up on a sacrifice, making him the lone Royals runner to get past first base off Ogando.
Shields, who was 4-1 in his previous five starts, lowered his ERA to 3.21. He was struck in the right elbow by David Murphy 's liner in the second, but remained in the game after making some warmup tosses as manager Ned Yost watched from the mound.
"You can probably see the big bump in my elbow," Shields said. "I had a hard time feeling the baseball the whole rest of the game. It's just one of those games, one of those moments where I wasn't coming out of the game. I told Skip I wasn't hurting. I wasn't necessarily feeling good, but I felt fine to go back out. It was kind of tightening up between every inning.
"Ogando pitched his heart out and it was just fortunate we got the win. The fans were unbelievable. It was electric in the stadium as I've ever seen it. They were into every single pitch," he said.
Shields allowed two-out singles to Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus before getting out of the inning.
Royals closer Greg Holland took over in the ninth. Alex Rios made it to first when he struck out on a wild pitch to lead off the inning and stole second. But Rios was thrown out trying to take third on Adrian Beltre 's fly to left, with Gordon getting his AL-leading 16th outfield assist.
"Rios was trying to make something happen, which you can't blame him," Gordon said. "I was just trying to make the play, keep the score zero-zero and help Greg out. Alex Rios is a long strider, very fast, so I had to make a good throw. That's what I planned to do. I didn't do much all day, but that was key."
Perez helped out Shields by throwing would-be basestealers Andrus at third base in the first and Leonys Martin at second in the fifth.
"Stealing third is easier than stealing second for me," Andrus said. "He throws well. I took my chances. That kid Perez is amazing. It's pretty tough the way they play defense. You have to tip your cap."
NOTES: The Royals' final home attendance was 1,750,754, an average of 21,614 for 81 games. The Royals averaged 21,748 for 80 home dates last year. ... The Rangers play their final seven games at home. LHP Derek Holland , who starts Monday against Houston, has lost five straight decisions at Rangers Ballpark since May 31. He is winless in his past eight starts, the longest drought of his career. ... The Royals, who finish up with seven games at Seattle and Chicago, are 38-36 on the road. They have not finished above .500 on the road since going 43-39 in 2003.