Cole Ragans falters as Kansas City Royals’ win streak ends. Here’s what went wrong

The Kansas City Royals threw the first punch in Saturday night’s matchup against the Los Angeles Angels.

The Royals took an early one-run lead as team captain Salvador Perez drilled an RBI double down the left-field line. Royals star Bobby Witt Jr. scored, and KC was off and running against Angels starter Tyler Anderson.

Or so they thought.

The Angels countered quickly en route to a 9-3 home victory at Angels Stadium. In the second inning, Angels outfielder Jo Adell hit a three-run homer that swung momentum. It was Adell’s second home run of the series.

From there, the Angels continued to make things difficult for Royals starter Cole Ragans. He allowed two additional runs in the third inning. Angels outfielder Kevin Pillar, who finished 3-for-4, added three RBIs.

Notably, the Royals struggled against Anderson’s changeup. He generated 18 swings and eight whiffs with the pitch, per Baseball Savant. At one point, Anderson had retired 13 of 14 batters to face him.

KC gradually clawed back in the game. In the sixth inning, Witt hit an RBI single that scored leadoff hitter Maikel Garcia. Later, the Royals added another run after producing three hits in the seventh.

The Angels would counter once more. In the seventh inning, Los Angeles scored four additional runs to break open the game.

The Royals dropped to 24-17 and snapped their three-game winning streak ahead of Sunday’s finale.

Missed previous games of the series?

Game 1: Michael Wacha, Dairon Blanco shine in Royals victory over Angels

Game 2: Adam Frazier’s 9th-inning homer lifts Royals past Angels

Here are more notables from Saturday’s game:

Ragans has tough outing

The Royals ace didn’t have his best stuff on Saturday. He missed a few locations and the Angels made him pay.

Ragans allowed eight hits and seven earned runs in 6 ⅓ innings. He threw 102 pitches and registered three strikeouts.

In the second inning, Ragans left his 88.4-mph slider over the plate during Adell’s at-bat. The pitch didn’t quite get far enough inside and Adell took advantage.

Later, Ragans threw a wild pitch that got by Perez. It allowed Angels designated hitter Taylor Ward, who had singled earlier, to score.

Ragans finished his night in the seventh inning. He left two runners aboard as Royals reliever Nick Anderson emerged from the bullpen. However, Pillar extended the Angels’ lead with a two-run single.

Both runs were charged to Ragans as he took the loss. It was his second time allowing seven earned runs in his last five starts.

Bobby Witt Jr. climbs atop AL stolen base list

Witt added two more steals to his ledger on Saturday. He registered both against Anderson as he moved into a tie with Tampa Bay Rays shortstop José Caballero atop the American League.

The Royals star nearly had a third stolen base. He attempted to steal third but was thrown out by Angels catcher Logan O’Hoppe in the sixth inning.

Witt has been caught stealing five times this season. He owns a 75% stolen-base percentage (15 of 20) and leads the Royals in the category.

What’s next on the KC Royals schedule?

The Royals conclude their four-game series against the Angels on Sunday. Royals right-hander Seth Lugo will draw the start in the afternoon matinee.

Lugo (5-1) is set to make his ninth start of the 2024 season. He owns a 1.74 ERA, which ranks fifth among all qualified MLB starters. The Angels will start veteran hurler Patrick Sandoval (2-5) on Sunday.