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How the Kansas City Royals got Sunday’s game to extras ... then lost to Mariners

The Kansas City Royals needed one more comeback against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday afternoon.

The late surge would come, but its impact was short-lived.

Royals outfielder MJ Melendez, who has languished in a deep slump, blasted a 431-foot, two-run homer in the ninth inning. The two-out blast to right field tied the game at 3 and sent Kauffman Stadium into a frenzy.

But the Royals couldn’t sustain that momentum — or enough of it, anyway — to prevail in extra innings. Seattle rebounded with three runs in the 10th off Royals closer James McArthur en route to a 6-5 victory.

KC dropped to 39-27 as Seattle salvaged the finale of the three-game weekend series.

It took a while for the Royals’ offense to arrive. A lot of credit goes to Mariners right-hander George Kirby, who shut down KC’s lineup.

Kirby allowed one earned run in seven innings. The Royals produced five hits and failed to capitalize on their few scoring chances against him.

The Mariners took an early lead out of the gate when shortstop J.P. Crawford hit a leadoff home run for the second straight game. This time, he barreled a 96.8 mph heater from Royals starter Cole Ragans over the right-field wall.

Ragans shook off the early mistake. He allowed three hits and registered nine strikeouts in six innings. He earned a no-decision in his 14th start of the year.

And the Royals continued to fight from behind. The Mariners scored two runs in the seventh inning against reliever Will Klein.

Melendez’s homer negated those late runs. In the 10th inning, Hunter Renfroe gave the Royals another chance with a two-run homer off Austin Voth.

Seattle weathered both of those storms. Mariners reliever Tayler Saucedo induced a ground-out to end the game.

Missed previous games of the series?

Game 1: Royals pull off improbable 10-9 comeback against Mariners

Game 2: Kyle Isbel, Adam Frazier fuel Royals offense in 8-4 victory

Here are more notable aspects from Sunday’s game:

Vinnie Pasquantino shows wheels with first-inning triple

It’s not often that a pitcher displays his entire repertoire in the first inning. On Sunday, Kirby reached into his reserves against Royals first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino.

Pasquantino fouled off six pitches during a 10-pitch sequence. He brushed off Kirby’s best slider, fastball, sinker and splitter.

Kirby worked all four quadrants of the strike zone. However, nothing seemed to work as Pasquantino stayed in the count.

Until … Kirby left a 97.7 mph sinker over the plate.

Pasquantino laced a triple into the right-field gap. He raced around the bases and slid into third safely. It was his second career triple and his first since May 19 against the Oakland Athletics.

Bobby Witt Jr. extends hitting streak to 10 games

Bobby Witt Jr. added to his 2024 MLB All-Star Game candidacy Sunday.

In the sixth inning, he rapped a single off Kirby to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.

Witt laced a sharp grounder that deflected off Mariners third baseman Dylan Moore. He raced toward first base and got aboard safely.

The infield single was Witt’s 18th hit of the streak, during which he’s been hitting .418 (18-for-43). He leads the American League with 85 hits and 56 runs scored.

What’s next on the KC Royals’ schedule?

The Royals welcome the New York Yankees to Kauffman Stadium on Monday to kick off a four-game series as KC continues a tough slate against first-place teams.

Royals veteran Seth Lugo will start Monday’s game. The right-hander has posted a 2.13 ERA and leads the American League with nine wins.

Left-hander Carlos Rodón will be the starting pitcher for the Yankees. He allowed two runs and struck out nine batters in his last start.