Adolis Garcia steals a double in the top of the fifth of the Rangers 9-4 victory over the Royals.

D wins games.

Defense. And Dane Dunning.

This is the Dane Dunning we were sold. Not the one who can’t get out of the first inning without giving up four or five runs. But the one who can actually make it through all five innings (which is a complete game for starters today) without a major meltdown.

It helps when you get the defense behind him like he got from Culberson, Garcia, and White.

Dunning tried to melt down in the first, walking the second Royals batter, but Culberson made a great play to start a double play and get him out of trouble. The next Royals hitter, leading off the second, scorched a Dane Dunning pitch down the left field line but Eli White snagged that.

And in the top of the fifth, Adolis Garcia robbed a sure RBI double from Salvador Perez with a nice catch in deep center.

Dunning left the game after five innings (you really can’t expect a pitcher to go any longer than that), giving up only two runs on five hits. It could have been much worse. But under the new GM, maybe the Rangers are going to realize defense matters. That would be encouraging and a major step forward.

Now they just need to figure out contact matters. Starting pitching matters. A bullpen matters. And base running matters.

One step at a time, though.

Dane Dunning and the Rangers defense got a nice victory in the first of three with the Royals.

Today the Rangers attempt the impossible. Two wins in a row. That’s will require another D.