Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO

Royals blow late game lead, potential win for Ragans in season’s 93rd loss


The Pittsburgh Pirates staged a late-inning rally to secure a 6-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night. Ke’Bryan Hayes emerged as the hero, smacking a two-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning, erasing a one-run deficit. The shot marked Hayes’ 11th home run of the season, covering a distance of 424 feet to left-center.

In the ninth inning, Liover Peguero extended the Pirates’ lead with a three-run homer, and Jack Suwinski capitalized on a Kansas City error to score another run.

Hayes shared his elation, saying, “It feels great. Those are the type of moments you grow up playing the game for – late in the game tying the game up or taking the lead.”

The Pirates, who had won the series opener 5-0 on Monday, aim to complete a three-game sweep on Wednesday, a feat they’ve achieved only once since the All-Star break. They last swept a series from June 27-29 against San Diego.

Luis Ortiz (3-4) contributed to the Pirates’ victory by pitching five innings of relief, allowing just one run on three hits.

On the Royals’ side, starter Cole Ragans delivered an impressive performance, striking out nine and walking one while maintaining a shutout through seven innings. Despite Ragans’ efforts, the Royals’ offense couldn’t capitalize.

Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro praised Ragans, noting that “All his pitches (were) effective, around the zone, in the zone, getting chase when he needed it, swing-and-miss in the zone.”

The Royals continue to face challenges, losing a series for the seventh time in eight attempts. They need to win 16 out of their final 28 games to avoid matching the franchise record of 106 losses from 2005.

The series concludes on Wednesday night, with the Pirates sending Andre Jackson (0-1, 4.91 ERA) to the mound. Kansas City has not yet announced its starter.

Willson Contreras delivered an impressive performance in front of his parents as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the San Diego Padres 6-5 in 10 innings, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Contreras, the St. Louis catcher, hit two crucial homers in the game. His first homer in the sixth cut the deficit to 4-3, and his second, a two-run blast in the eighth off Robert Suarez, tied the game at 5. After hitting the tying homer, Contreras pointed to his parents in the stands, acknowledging their presence.

Contreras, who had his parents from Venezuela in the stands for the first time as a member of the Cardinals, expressed his gratitude, saying, “Having my family in the stands, it means a lot to me. I’m here because of them. I owe them a lot.”

Contreras has recorded three multi-homer games this season and a total of 15 homers. His performance added a positive spark to the Cardinals, who had been struggling lately.

Pinch-hitter Tommy Edman sealed the victory for the Cardinals with a walk-off single in the 10th inning, scoring Maysn Winn. Edman, who was initially given the night off, stepped up in a crucial moment and delivered his fourth career walk-off hit.

San Diego’s struggles continued as they lost their 11th consecutive extra-inning game. Luis Campusano homered for the Padres, but they fell to 7-16 in August.

JoJo Romero (4-1) secured the win for the Cardinals by striking out two batters in the 10th inning. St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol praised Edman’s readiness, saying, “He’s a student of the game… He was ready for it.”

The Padres will look to avoid a sweep in the series finale against the Cardinals. St. Louis right-hander Miles Mikolas (6-10, 4.66 ERA) will face San Diego left-hander Rich Hill (7-13, 5.21 ERA) in the final game of the three-game series.

The Kansas City Royals have decided to skip Brady Singer’s next start in the rotation due to arm fatigue. Singer, the 27-year-old starter, has experienced a slight drop in velocity in recent outings and has been dealing with fatigue. However, medical tests conducted on his arm came back clear, easing concerns about any serious injury.

The Royals believe that Singer’s fatigue is a result of the advanced stage of the season and his nearing a career-high innings count. He has thrown 143 1/3 innings so far this season, coming close to his career-high mark of 153 1/3 innings set in the previous year.

General manager J.J. Picollo expressed relief about the positive scan results and outlined the plan to manage Singer’s fatigue. The Royals intend to skip his next start without placing him on the injured list, with the hope of having him return to the rotation for his following outing.

Originally, Singer was set to be pushed back a few days from his scheduled start against the Pirates, but with an off-day on Thursday, the Royals decided to provide him with a full rotation turn’s worth of rest before his next appearance. If all goes according to plan, Singer is expected to be ready to pitch against the White Sox on August 5.

Singer had recently pitched with heavy workloads, requiring 91 pitches in 3 2/3 innings against the Cubs and 87 pitches in four innings against the Mariners. His fastball velocity had also dropped slightly, which could be attributed to some of his changeups being thrown with a grip similar to his sinker. Despite these challenges, Singer had shown strong performance in his previous six starts, with a 2.85 ERA across 41 innings and successful outings into the seventh inning in four of those starts.

The Kansas City Royals are set to utilize the final month of the season as an opportunity to evaluate their bullpen options and provide playing time to some of their Triple-A players. One of the prospects that the Royals are keen on giving a chance is pitcher Steven Cruz, who was acquired in a trade with the Twins involving Michael A. Taylor during the previous offseason.

Cruz has made notable improvements in addressing command issues that had previously affected his performance in the Twins’ system. The 24-year-old pitcher has achieved a 3.81 ERA across Double-A and Triple-A games this season. In his time with Triple-A Omaha, Cruz has only conceded 11 out of his 13 runs in just two appearances. He boasts a 30.6% strikeout rate and a 13.9% walk rate in Triple-A, and his pitching arsenal, which includes an upper-90s fastball, a robust slider, and a newly developed cutter, has garnered positive reviews.

Cruz’s approach involves attacking the strike zone and placing trust in his pitches. The introduction of his cutter has proved effective, and he’s gained confidence in utilizing his various offerings effectively.

The Royals see Cruz’s potential and believe that his powerful arm and stature at 6-foot-7 will make him a valuable addition to their bullpen. With opportunities still open for defining bullpen roles, Cruz’s addition is expected to provide an injection of depth and talent. Making his Major League debut, Cruz becomes the sixth player from the Royals to do so in this season.

The MLB scoreboard for Tuesday, August 29, 2023: 

New York Yankees 4, Detroit 2

St. Louis 6, San Diego 5 (10) 

Baltimore 9, Chicago White Sox 3

Chicago Cubs 1, Milwaukee 0

Houston 6, Boston 2

Atlanta 3, Colorado 1

Cleveland 4, Minnesota 2

San Francisco 6, Cincinnati 1

Oakland 3, Seattle 1

Los Angeles Dodgers 9, Arizona 1

Philadelphia 12, Los Angeles Angels 7

Tampa Bay 11, Miami 2

Washington 5, Toronto 4

Texas 2, New York Mets 1

Pittsburgh 6, Kansas City 3