KC Royals’ closer had rare stumble Sunday. That & cold bats were costly vs. Texas

The Kansas City Royals took the Texas Rangers to the limit this weekend at Kauffman Stadium.

On Sunday, however, they ran out of gas in a 3-2 loss at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals (20-15) controlled much of Sunday’s game against the defending major-league-champion Rangers. A lot of credit goes to pitcher Daniel Lynch IV, who made his first start — a spot start — of the season.

After a 34-pitch first inning, Lynch settled down to pitch five scoreless innings and register six strikeouts.

Royals stars Bobby Witt Jr. and Vinnie Pasquantino fueled the hosts’ early offense. Witt hit a double and triple and Pasquantino, batting next in the order, drove him home on both occasions.

The Rangers were shut out until the eighth inning, when Corey Seager — who struck out three times Sunday — came through with a sacrifice fly.

Then in the ninth, catcher Jonah Heim smashed a solo homer off the right-field foul pole. He hit it off KC closer James McArthur, who blew his first save in nine opportunities.

The Rangers (19-17) scored the decisive run in the 10th. Texas reliever David Robinson was credited with the win.

The Royals open a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Missed previous games of the series?

Game 1: Royals score six late runs to outlast Rangers in 7-1 victory

Game 2: Royals fall behind early in 15-4 loss to Rangers

Here are more notable aspects of Sunday’s game:

Bobby Witt Jr. fuels Royals’ offense

Witt continued his hot start against the Rangers.

In the first inning, he ignited the Royals’ offense with a triple into the center-field gap. The Royals took advantage as first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino followed with a sacrifice fly to drive him home.

Later, Witt belted a two-out double. It was his American League-leading 19th extra-base hit of the season.

Scoring those two runs gave Witt 31 runs through 35 games. At his current pace, he’d finish the 2024 season with 138 runs, 81 extra-base hits and 52 stolen bases.

No one in major-league history has come close to putting up such numbers.

Alec Marsh solid in rehab start

The Royals kept a close eye on their Triple-A affiliate in Omaha on Sunday.

KC starting pitcher Alec Marsh made a rehab start for the Storm Chasers. He tossed four scoreless innings and recorded six strikeouts against the Iowa Cubs. He surrendered one hit and one walk in 53 pitches.

The rehab start was an important step. Marsh, who is recovering from a right-elbow contusion, can return from the 15-day injured list soon. He is eligible to return May 10, if everything checks out fine.

Royals reliever Carlos Hernandez also pitched well on Sunday. He, too, is on a rehab assignment with the Storm Chasers. Hernandez recorded two strikeouts and picked up the victory.

What’s ahead on the KC Royals’ schedule

The Royals continue their homestand at Kauffman Stadium. On Monday, KC welcomes the Milwaukee Brewers for a three-game series.

Royals southpaw Cole Ragans will pitch the series opener. He will be making his eighth start of the season.

Brewers right-hander Bryse Wilson will oppose Ragans. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. Central Time.