Kansas City Royals got down big on Saturday. Then they fought back: ‘Never give up’

The Kansas City Royals entered Saturday looking to win the series against the Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium — and extend their home winning streak to 10.

However, the Orioles had other ideas.

Baltimore outlasted KC in a 9-7 victory. Both teams produced big innings that swayed momentum throughout the game. And the Royals didn’t quit even after falling behind big.

The Orioles took an early lead in the second inning. They scored seven runs against Royals ace Cole Ragans and chased him from the game. Ragans, who made his fifth start, exited after 62 pitches.

Ragans didn’t have his best command. He registered 39 swings and just 10 whiffs. Meanwhile, the Orioles collected six consecutive hits with two out.

“Not good,” Ragans said. “Tonight, flush it. You know, I’ve got another start in five days I’ve got to prepare for, so can’t let this one bother me.”

The Royals didn’t score until the sixth inning. But they nearly pulled off an improbable comeback.

Royals captain Salvador Perez hit a three-run homer to cut into the deficit. It was his sixth home run of the 2024 season.

Perez finished 3-for-5 with five RBIs.

An inning later, the Royals scored four additional runs. KC sent 10 batters to the plate as Nelson Velazquez started the inning with a leadoff walk. Both Perez and Maikel Garcia would drive in key runs during the frame.

“(We) got down by seven in the second inning and you never give up,” Perez said. “You know, we are going to compete and we are going to fight to the last out like we did tonight.”

The Royals pulled within one run, 8-7. However, the Orioles got a crucial insurance run in the eighth inning to seal the victory.

KC dropped to 12-8. Orioles ace Corbin Burnes picked up his third win of the season. The former Cy Young winner allowed three runs in 5 ⅔ innings of work.

Baltimore earned its 13th victory ahead of the series’ rubber game on Sunday afternoon.

Missed previous Royals coverage?

Game 1: Michael Massey returns as Royals surge to 9-4 victory over Orioles

Big inning: How Royals 5-run inning swayed momentum in home win

Here are more notables from Saturday’s game:

Cole Ragans struggles in Orioles rematch

Ragans lasted 1 ⅔ innings against the Orioles. In the second inning, he threw 49 pitches before being pulled.

It was the shortest outing by a Royals starter this season. Ragans allowed seven runs and eight hits in the frame. The Orioles didn’t do major offensive damage with big swings. Instead, they methodically hit Ragans with soft contact.

“For whatever reason, with two strikes, they did a good job of putting the ball in play,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “There weren’t too many hard-hit balls, but they were two-strike hits. You’ve got to give them credit for that.”

Baltimore registered six singles and two doubles. Orioles second baseman Jordan Westburg led the charge as six players collected RBIs. Westburg recorded two hits in the second inning and drove in two runs.

The Orioles sent 12 batters to the plate. Meanwhile, only three of their hits registered an exit velocity over 95 mph in the inning.

Ragans was replaced by Royals rookie Matt Sauer. He retired the side and pitched two additional innings in relief.

“You see him putting up zeroes,” Quatraro said of Sauer. “Every outing he gets in the big leagues is a growth moment.”

Royals make roster move

The Royals placed reliever Jordan Lyles on the inactive list on Saturday. In a corresponding move, KC recalled Anthony Veneziano from Triple-A Omaha.

“He is okay,” Quatraro said of Lyles. “We don’t have a definite amount of time (Lyles could miss) and, you know, it’s just a personal matter that we have to try to let him resolve.”

Veneziano was designated as the 27th man in Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox. The southpaw will operate in the Royals bullpen.

“It feels good,” Veneziano said. “I left the team on Wednesday and went back to Triple-A. I pitched on Thursday and I’m back here today. It’s been a pretty crazy week, but I’m excited to be here.”

In Triple-A, Veneziano allowed six runs in five outings. He made two starts and registered 10 strikeouts and six walks.

Lyles hasn’t allowed a run in five relief appearances this season.

What’s next on the KC Royals schedule

The Royals conclude their weekend series against the Orioles on Sunday.

Seth Lugo is slated to start against Cole Irvin in the series finale. Lugo is 3-0 and owns a 1.05 ERA this season. He has allowed three earned runs in 25 ⅔ innings.

Lugo pitched seven scoreless innings against the White Sox in his last start.