Kris Bubic’s odd troubles at Kauffman Stadium continue as KC Royals lose to Rangers

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There had been reason for optimism recently about left-hander Kris Bubic after his return from a stint in the minor leagues, particularly on the team’s recently completed West Coast swing.

Bubic had allowed five runs over 11 1/3 innings combined against the Angels and Giants, a marked improvement from earlier in the season when he was sent to Triple-A Omaha.

But things unraveled in a hurry Monday night for Bubic in his 50th career appearance. He allowed seven runs (five earned) and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings as Texas beat the Royals 10-4 at Kauffman Stadium.

Bubic walked three, had two wild pitches and hit a batter as his baffling struggles at home continued.

“Command of everything was a little bit spotty, especially the fastball,” Bubic said. “One inning, that second inning, kind of got away from us a little bit. Just falling behind in counts and just making things tough to where, I don’t want to say set the tone for the outing, but tough to get a good solid rhythm after that one.”

After the Royals scored a run in the first inning, Texas countered with four in the second. The Rangers loaded the bases on a single, walk and an error by shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.

Nathaniel Lowe walked to force in a run and Leody Tavares delivered a two-run single. An infield out produced a run that made it 4-1. Bubic threw 36 pitches in the inning.

The Royals pushed three runs across in their half of the frame on a two-run double by Whit Merrifield and an RBI single from Andrew Benintendi.

But Bubic allowed a run in the fourth inning, then served up a two-run homer to Mitch Garver as the Rangers took a 7-4 lead an inning later. The rally started with two outs.

Royals manager Mike Matheny praised Bubic’s ability to tough it out after the long second inning.

“Heading into the fifth and we get two outs, it’s a one-run game right there with a 36-pitch inning,” Matheny said. “He almost gets through the fifth but unfortunately makes a 3-0 pitch that turns it on its head at that point.

“But the fact that he kept us in that game to that point and some plays just didn’t get made behind him ended up adding up.”

In 10 starts at Kauffman Stadium this season, Bubic has given up 24 runs in 24 1/3 innings. He hasn’t won a start at home since Sept. 18 against the Seattle Mariners.

Texas scored three more times in the sixth inning against reliever Matt Peacock and blew the game open. The Royals (26-46) have lost three straight.

Kowar solid in return

One bright spot on the night was right-hander Jackson Kowar, who was recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Monday.

Kowar tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

“Stepping into the long-guy role for me, as soon as I got in there my goal was just to finish the game,” Kowar said. “Giving length in that spot is really why I’m coming in, so I’m really happy to be able to finish out the game and save a lot of bullets down there for our (bullpen) guys for tomorrow.”

Reaching 98 mph with his fastball, Kowar got the Rangers to swing and miss 10 of his 62 pitches. He threw 40 strikes. Thirty-two of his pitches were change-ups.

Taylor’s hot streak

Center fielder Michael A. Taylor walked twice and had a single in two at-bats as he’s continued a nice home stand.

Taylor is 5 for 11 (.455) with a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored in the Royals’ last three games.