Vinnie Pasquantino nearly hits for cycle, but KC Royals fall to Padres at home

There was a confirmed “Pasquatch” sighting at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday. And several were in attendance to witness the moment.

In the first inning, Royals first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino blasted a two-run homer on his bobblehead day against the San Diego Padres. Later, he nearly etched his name in franchise history by hitting for the cycle.

Alas, Pasquantino came a triple shy of the cycle. The Royals fell similarly short in a 7-3 loss to the Padres.

“I wish I could have that fourth at-bat back,” Pasquantino said. “So, you know, a few highs early and a few lows late. Like we said all year, we will get back out there tomorrow.”

The Royals dropped their third consecutive game and fell to to 35-25. KC has lost six of seven during the cold stretch.

Pasquantino nearly provided some late-game heroics in the loss. He stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the seventh inning as the Royals had a chance to reclaim the lead.

Pasquantino, though, struck out against Padres reliever Jeremiah Estrada. He swung through a 99.1-mph fastball to end the inning.

“Yeah, that was a battle of titans, right? Pasquantino swung the bat well today,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said. “... It was power versus power.”

The Padres held onto the late lead and improved to 32-29. Spot starter Randy Vasquez, who replaced Joe Musgrave, picked up the victory.

Vasquez allowed three runs, four hits and registered five strikeouts in five innings. The Padres aided him with ample run support in the victory.

Shortstop Ha-Seong Kim recorded two extra-base hits, including a three-run triple. San Diego duo Fernando Tatis Jr. and Kyle Higashioka hit solo homers in the victory.

“I thought we competed well at the plate,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “Just weren’t able to extend the lead when we had it and we weren’t able to come back when we were behind.”

Royals starter Alec Marsh took the loss. He struggled with his command and allowed five earned runs in five innings.

Missed previous Royals coverage?

Game 1: Royals’ bullpen collapses in 11-8 loss to Padres

Column: How Royals will approach bullpen needs ahead of 2024 trade deadline

Here are more notables from Saturday’s game:

Alec Marsh evades 5th-inning trouble

Marsh was inefficient against the Padres on Saturday. However, he avoided potential disaster with a little bit of defensive help.

In the fifth inning, Marsh faced a bases-loaded situation. He began the frame by hitting Padres outfielder Jurickson Profar with a 79.5-mph curveball.

Two batters later, Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth doubled to set up runners on second and third. Next, Marsh intentionally walked Padres star Manny Machado, which loaded the bases with one out.

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Alec Marsh (48) throws against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium on June 1, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Alec Marsh (48) throws against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium on June 1, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Marsh was stuck in a jam. As the Royals bullpen began to stir, he faced Padres designated hitter Donovan Solano in a key spot.

And Marsh didn’t back down. He induced Solano to hit into a double play by rolling over a 94.1-mph sinker toward second baseman Nick Loftin.

Loftin fielded the baseball and tossed it to shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. to begin a 4-6-3 double play. The Padres were turned away without adding to their two-run lead.

“To be able to get out of that is huge to keep us at five runs there,” Marsh said. “There was already a lot of damage done. So (I was) trying to keep it there and let our boys hit.”

Foul call costs Royals in 4th inning

The Royals had a chance to escape early fourth-inning trouble. But a foul-ball ruling negated a potential inning-ending double play.

In the fourth, Padres outfielder Jackson Merrill hit into what initially looked like a tailor-made double play. However, umpires ruled the baseball made contact with Merrill’s foot off the bat.

As a result, it registered as a foul ball. Quatraro argued the call to no avail.

“I did not see the third base umpire (Jansen Visconti) call it, so in my mind, the ball was already in play and we were playing it before the home plate umpire (Andy Fletcher) called it,” Quatraro said. “He said the third base umpire called it right away.”

Merrill was granted another chance at the plate and he connected with a single on the next pitch to load the bases. From there, Kim hit the three-run triple as the Padres took the lead.

“Whatever the call is, I don’t really care,” Marsh said. “The next pitch has to be better.”

What’s next on the KC Royals’ schedule?

The Royals conclude their weekend series against the Padres. On Sunday, Royals southpaw Cole Ragans will look to snap the club’s losing skid at Kauffman Stadium.

Ragans owns a 3.36 ERA in 12 starts this season. He has allowed three or fewer runs in six of his last seven outings. The Padres are expected to start right-hander Michael King in the series finale.