Kansas City Royals starter Cole Ragans had a stress-free Labor Day.
Ragans didn’t exert much energy in shutting down the Chicago White Sox. He tossed six scoreless innings as the Royals won 12-1 Monday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
“He came out firing right out of the get-go,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “His stuff has been electric. Today, it looked like he missed some balls arm-side, but ... he is able to reign it back in or use something different. ... As far as he’s concerned, it was more of the same.”
Royals fans were treated to another dominant performance. Ragans, who was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for August on Sunday, allowed one hit, no walks and struck out seven.
His 21-inning scoreless streak is the longest active mark in the majors. It’s also the longest for a Royals pitcher since Wade Davis (22 scoreless innings) in 2015.
“Every time I go out there, I try to give us a chance to win,” Ragans said. “Today, the guys made it pretty easy. The guys were unbelievable — the homers and good at-bats — we put up 12 (runs), and seven in the fifth.”
Ragans also registered 22 whiffs and six called strikes. Meanwhile, the Royals aided his start with more than adequate support.
Outfielder Edward Olivares ignited the offense. He finished 3 for 4 with two home runs and three RBIs.
Olivares snapped an 85 at-bat homerless drought with his second career multi-homer game. Since July 18, he’s hitting .302 with eight extra-base hits.
KC added seven runs in the fifth inning. Rookie infielder Nick Loftin recorded his third double since being called up Friday night.
Seven Royals recorded at least one RBI in the game. The lineup was 5 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
“It’s amazing,” Olivares said. “Everyone was trying to compete with every at-bat and every pitch.”
The Royals improved to 43-96 this season. They have won seven of their last 10 Labor Day games since the 2013 campaign.
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Here are more notables from Monday’s game:
Nelson Velázquez clobbers 10th home run
The Royals reversed their offensive woes against the White Sox. And outfielder Nelson Velázquez was a big part of Monday’s turnaround.
Velázquez hit his 10th home run in the fourth inning. He drilled a 73.6 mph curveball — a 415 foot blast — off White Sox starter Jesse Scholtens. The homer scored Royals catcher Freddy Fermin and gave KC a five-run lead.
“It’s a pretty compact swing for a guy with that much power,” Quatraro said. “He has very limited at-bats in the big leagues, and to put the power numbers up he has, I think he is scratching the surface of what he can be as a hitter.”
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Velázquez has seven home runs in 21 games with the Royals. He has three doubles, two home runs and six RBIs on this current homestand.
“With that compact swing, I think he is going to be able to do stuff to different parts of the field and not just hit home runs,” Quatraro said.
Nick Loftin gets 5th hit since MLB debut
Loftin is the latest Royals prospect to get an extended look at the major-league level.
He has taken advantage of the opportunity at the plate. Loftin has five hits in three games. He added a single and two-run double against the White Sox Monday afternoon.
“I’m feeling really confident and seeing the ball really well,” Loftin said. “I got a great plan and approach going. I am trying to take it one pitch at a time right now.”
This season, Loftin is hitting .500 in 10 career at-bats. He joined Johnny Giavotella as the only Royals players to record at least two hits and a walk in a big-league debut.
Loftin is also the first Royals player to record an extra-base hit in three straight games to begin a career.
What’s next: The Royals continue their three-game series against the White Sox. Brady Singer, reinstated from the paternity list, will start Tuesday night.