KC Royals fall on Star Wars Night, but one injured pitcher could soon ‘strike back’

It was “Star Wars Night” at Kauffman Stadium, as fans arrived dressed as their favorite characters of the movie franchise.

The Royals, who have operated at lightspeed with this season’s rebuild efforts, looked to keep their winning ways going against the Texas Rangers. But the 2023 World Series champs struck back with a 15-4 victory on Saturday night.

The force was not strong with the Royals this Saturday evening.

The Rangers attacked Royals starter Michael Wacha early. He allowed seven runs in 3 ⅔ innings before departing in the fourth inning. Namely, the Rangers took advantage of a few mistake pitches.

Texas duo Nathaniel Lowe and Evan Carter did major damage. Lowe finished 4-for-4 with two RBIs. Carter hit a two-run triple in the third inning to extend the Rangers’ lead to four runs.

Wacha threw 44 of 77 pitches for strikes. He got 13 swings and six whiffs on his changeup, but the Rangers feasted on his four-seam fastball.

Carter squared up a heater that was thrown on the inside corner. Lowe hit a 94.3 mph fastball that was left over the plate.

The Rangers added three additional runs in the seventh inning. The run support was enough for starting pitcher Dane Dunning. He allowed two earned runs in 4 ⅔ innings of work.

The Royals did get their chance to make things closer.

Outfielder Hunter Renfroe hit a two-run single to put KC on the board. Later, first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino added an RBI.

The Rangers withstood the attempted rally and evened the series. In the ninth inning, Texas scored five additional runs to stamp their 18th victory.

The Royals fell to 20-14 ahead of Sunday’s rubber match.

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Here are more notables from Saturday’s game:

Alec Marsh set to make rehab start

The Royals could get a key starter back soon. KC announced second-year pitcher Alec Marsh is set to make a rehab start with Triple-A Omaha.

Marsh, who is sidelined with a right elbow contusion, is expected to be on a pitch count with the Omaha Storm Chasers on Sunday.

“We are going to keep him around 60 to 65 (pitches),” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said.

The Royals placed Marsh on the 15-day injured list. On April 24, Marsh was hit by a line drive near his right forearm against the Toronto Blue Jays. He experienced swelling near his forearm flexor as the Royals took a cautious approach.

Marsh is eligible to be activated off the injured list on May 10. If all goes well, there is a chance he could return against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim on Friday.

Michael Massey continues to settle in

The Royals collected nine hits in the game. Still, it didn’t amount to much offense against the Rangers.

Royals second baseman Michael Massey had three of the nine hits. He finished 3-for-4 as he raised his batting average 45 points in the game.

Massey now sports a .295 average. He is currently riding a seven-game hitting streak with seven RBIs during that span.

What’s next on the KC Royals schedule?

The Royals look for a series victory over the Rangers. On Sunday, KC will face Texas veteran hurler Jon Gray at Kauffman Stadium.

Gray owns a 2.48 ERA this season. Meanwhile, the Royals haven’t announced who will draw the spot start against the Rangers. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m. Central.