June 21, 2024

Nick Loftin lifts Royals over Padres in a 4-3 walk-off win

Kansas City Royals' Drew Waters (6) celebrates with Nick Pratto after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday, July 16, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

BY CODY FRIESEN Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Nick Loftin hit a walk-off sacrifice fly, Nelson Velázquez hit two RBIs and the Kansas City Royals defeated the San Diego Padres 4-3 on Sunday.

Loftin’s sacrifice fly came after Velázquez pinch-hit a game-tying, two-run triple with no outs in the ninth. Velázquez finished the series with four RBIs.

“It is a huge win; we had to battle all weekend against a good team,” Loftin said. “It is big to get this win before we go into a big series this week. In that last at-bat, I just wanted to get a pitch up, something I could handle. I got to pitch up, and I was able to do enough.”

The Padres won the series, but Kansas City avoided the sweep. The Royals have not been swept this season and ended a three-game skid.

Cole Ragans allowed one run on five hits in six innings with six strikeouts and two walks. It was the ninth time this season Ragans had six or more strikeouts in an outing this season. Will Klein (1-0) earned his first-career win with a scoreless ninth inning.

“It felt great. I thought I commanded my stuff today,” Ragans said. “I don’t think I changed anything. Just sticking to the process and going out there and executing that is the biggest thing. In late innings, we put together good bats. These guys are relentless. It is so fun to watch and be a part of.”

Vinnie Pasquantino hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead. It was his fifth RBI of the series.

Fernando Tatis Jr. hit an RBI single in the eighth to give the Padres a 2-1 lead. Manny Machado followed up with an RBI single. This season, San Diego has scored 121 runs in the eighth inning, more than any other inning. Luis Arraez tied the game with an RBI single in the fifth.

Michael King pitched seven innings of one-run ball on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks. It was the fourth time this year that King had pitched seven or more innings. Reliever Enyel De Los Santos tossed a scoreless eighth. Yuki Matsui (3-1) was tabbed with the loss.

“That’s a good team, let’s not kid ourselves,” San Diego manager Mike Shildt said. “They do a heck of a job, and it was a good series, and credit to them for Friday night’s comeback because they compromised their bullpen. They got us at the end today.”

HITS, HITS, HITS

The series featured the hit leaders in the National and American leagues. Arraez recorded six hits in the series, extending an eight-game hitting streak. Bobby Witt Jr. had five hits in the series. Arraez leads the majors in the category.

ROSTER MOVES

Royals: RHP Michael Wacha (left foot fracture) was placed on the 15-day injured list retroactive to June 1. Wacha was struck by a comebacker on the fourth pitch of his start on Friday night. He stayed in the game and pitched 5 1/3 innings. Daniel Lynch IV was recalled from Triple-A Omaha in the corresponding move.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: Kyle Isbel (nonconcussive head and neck injury) left the game in the fifth inning after a collision with Witt in centerfield. Isbel had to exit in the seventh inning on May 24 after fouling a ball off his face.

Padres: Arraez exited the game in the sixth inning after getting called out after a headfirst slide into second on an RBI single to end the inning. He was looked at by trainers in the middle of the inning but stayed in before being replaced in the next inning. After the game, Shildt said the substitution was just a precaution.

“He jammed his shoulder on that play at second base and a little bit of his neck,” Shildt said. “Nothing looks overly serious, just a precaution to take him out. Things are as positive as they can be right after the game.”

UP NEXT

The Padres will head to Anaheim for another interleague series with the Angles starting Monday. Matt Waldron (3-5, 4.26 ERA) will take the mound for San Diego. Kansas City travels to Cleveland for a three-game road trip. Seth Lugo (9-1, 1.72) will open the series for the Royals.