Ragans (career-high 12 K's) caps Royals' perfect homestand

May 22nd, 2024

KANSAS CITY -- Through the opening five games of an ultra-productive homestand, the Royals never trailed. was just the man to help keep that streak going.

In a matchup of elite left-handers Ragans and Tarik Skubal, it was Ragans who stood out Wednesday as the Royals played frontrunners again and zipped to an 8-3 victory, largely due to an overpowering start from Ragans.

Ragans fanned a career-high 12 and didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning, when Riley Greene dunked a two-out single into left field, well in front of a charging Nelson Velázquez. By then, the Royals had taken charge thanks to the extra-base damage they inflicted on Skubal.

Run-scoring doubles by Freddy Fermin and Garrett Hampson and a solo homer by Velázquez put Kansas City up 3-0 early and in position to play all 54 innings of the 6-0 homestand either tied or ahead.

The perfect homestand against Oakland and Detroit marks the second time this year that the Royals have run the table in homestands of six games or more. They went 7-0 at Kauffman Stadium versus the White Sox and Astros from April 4-11. The only other Royals team to have two perfect homestands of six games or more was the 1985 World Series championship club.

“I couldn’t be happier for these guys,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “They are putting in the work and their attitude has been tremendous. This is what you play for.”

Starting pitching has been the foundation for the Royals all season, and Ragans was again up to the task of shutting down the opposition through the early and middle portions of the game. His only issue was that his hefty strikeout rate (along with three walks) got his pitch count a tad higher than he would have liked.

“His changeup, we know how good it is,” Quatraro said of Ragans. “He was getting swing and miss on the fastball, too. They had to honor the changeup, so he got them in-between.”

The first hit for Detroit came on Ragans’ 95th pitch. Had Ragans gone through six with a no-hitter working, Quatraro said he would have sent Ragans back out for the seventh.

“We would be hoping for something miraculous, a bunch of first-pitch outs,” Quatraro said of possibly letting Ragans continue to chase a no-hit bid. “He’s on an extra day’s rest right now and he gets an extra day’s rest his next time around.”

Ragans said he was pleased with the efficiency of his pitches overall as the Tigers continued to have problems putting the ball in play.

“I had a few walks in there,” Ragans said. “The fastball was kind of missing a little bit. But overall, I felt like we had a good mix and kept them off-balance.”

The early offense was boosted by two bench players -- Fermin and Hampson -- who made the most of playing opportunities in the series finale.

The Royals have been getting timely production up and down the lineup lately and that’s a large factor in how they’ve managed to build a 21-8 home record.

“We are working really good,” Fermin said. “The boys are playing some ball.”