July 14, 2024

Ragans gets 1st win with KC, pitches Royals past Mets 4-0 for team’s 5th straight win

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Cole Ragans throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

By MARC BOWMAN Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Cole Ragans pitched out of trouble for six spotless innings and the Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets 4-0 on Wednesday night for their fifth consecutive victory, extending their longest winning streak in more than two years.
Michael Massey hit a two-run double off rookie Kodai Senga in the first. Drew Waters homered late and threw out a runner at the plate from right field.
Called up from the minors earlier in the day, Ragans (3-3) struck out a career-best eight in his first win with the Royals.
“I felt like I kept them off balance a little bit,” Ragans said. “I was throwing the changeup and the slider for strikes, so it helped me out when I did miss with the fastball. I felt like they had to honor everything else, so they couldn’t just sit on a fastball over the plate.”
The left-hander allowed seven hits and walked one in his second start for Kansas City since being acquired June 30 from Texas.
“He’s got good stuff,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “It’s a very smooth delivery. It’s just easy velocity. The slider looks like it’s sharper than it was his first start.”
Maikel Garcia had three singles as Kansas City extended its best winning streak since taking six straight games in July 2021.
“Part of this whole process is learning how to win,” Massey said. “Individual development of trying to figure the league out, and then as a team learning how to go out there and win.”
The Royals ripped Senga for six hits over the first two innings, building a 3-0 lead, as a light rain fell early in the game. Senga (7-6) worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on a career-high 11 hits and two walks. He struck out six.
“I think some of his velocity was down,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “It was really sticky. When it started raining, everything was sticking to his spikes. He couldn’t get his spikes in the ground. It was really remarkable that he was able to survive there. A real tribute, a testament to his ability to keep competing.”
Massey’s two-out, two-run double off the right-field wall opened the scoring. Kansas City added another run in the second on three consecutive singles, capped by Bobby Witt Jr.’s RBI single off Senga.
“I feel like we jumped on him a lot,” Massey said. “Maikel set the tone and Bobby (had) two hard-hit balls right away. Just a really good plan from coaches, and (we) picked up some stuff from video that we were watching all day, and put some good swings on him.”
Waters threw out Mark Vientos at the plate in the sixth to preserve the shutout, then added a solo homer in the eighth.
“I didn’t have much of a grip,” Waters said. “At first I thought I was going to throw it in the stands, and it cut about 10 feet, right back to (catcher) Salvy (Perez).”
“The throw from Waters saved me big-time,” Ragans said. “The pitch count started getting up there and he threw it right on the money and hosed the guy. It was huge.”
Angel Zerpa and Taylor Clarke allowed two hits over the final three innings, completing the Royals’ fifth shutout and first since June 20.
“We just didn’t score any runs,” Showalter said. “The whole outing would have looked different if we could have done some things. We had some opportunities, didn’t do much with them.”
Jeff McNeil, who had three hits, grounded out with the bases loaded to end it.
New York went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 overall while getting blanked for the 10th time this season.
Mets: CF Brandon Nimmo sat out his second consecutive game with tightness in his left quadriceps. … RF Starling Marte (migraines) is likely to be reinstated from the injured list before the club plays in Baltimore this weekend. “We could have activated him today and probably not started him,” Showalter said. “We need players who are able to play. He’s almost there. We feel like he’s going to be a player in Baltimore.”
Mets: Activated RHP Phil Bickford and selected the contract of SS Jonathan Araúz from Triple-A Syracuse. C Michael Pérez was optioned to Syracuse.
Royals: Activated LHP Tucker Davidson and recalled Ragans from Triple-A Omaha. RHPs Jackson Kowar and James McArthur were optioned to Omaha.
Mets RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-5, 6.40 ERA) faces RHP Brady Singer (6-8, 5.46) in the series finale Thursday.