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Young starting pitchers impress, but Royals swept in doubleheader against Rays

Alec Marsh and Cole Ragans showed something.

Tampa Bay Rays v Kansas City Royals - Game One Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The Rays easily swept the Royals in a day-night doubleheader, but Kansas City did get some impressive pitching performances from two young starters, Alec Marsh and Cole Ragans. Marsh started game one and kept things close until a bullpen blow up lead to a 6-1 final score. Ragans made his Royals debut after being acquired from the Rangers for Aroldis Chapman, and he pitched five impressive innings in a 4-2 loss in game two.

In game one, Marsh gave up solo home runs to Jose Siri in the third and Francisco Mejia in the fifth, but otherwise had the Rays whiffing all day. He struck out the side in the fourth and struck out 11 batters in six innings, the most by any Royals pitcher since Brady Singer on July 23 last year.

He walked just one hitter over six innings, throwing 61 of his 92 pitches for strikes and generating 15 swing-and-misses all day.

The Royals couldn’t must much offense against Rays starter Tyler Glasnow all day. Bobby Witt Jr. destroyed a pitch for a 442-foot blast, his 15th home run of the year. But the Royals would manage just seven hits and two walks on against Glasnow and relievers Jason Adam and Javy Guerra.

Still, it was a one-run game going into the eighth when reliever Collin Snider entered the game. He proceeded to throw 13 consecutive balls, walking the bases loaded. A two-run single by Luke Raley and a sac fly by Josh Lowe plated three runs to put the game away. Siri added his second home run of the day in the ninth against Nick Wittgren to make it 6-1 Rays.

In game two, Ragans struggled a bit with his command in the first, but was able to work around a bases loaded jam. Randy Arozarena drove him a single in the third to put the Rays on the board, but Maikel Garcia quickly tied it up with a sacrifice fly to score Nick Pratto, who had doubled. Ragans would exit with a 1-1 tie after five innings with three strikeouts and two walks, and he was still hitting 96-98 mph in his last inning.

The Royals took the lead in the sixth on back-to-back singles by Drew Waters and Nick Pratto, and an RBI groundout by Dairon Blanco. Jonathan Heasley gave up the lead in the seventh on an RBI triple to Josh Lowe and the Rays took the lead in the eighth off Carlos Hernandez on a Luke Raley RBI single. The Rays tacked on a run in the ninth off Dylan Coleman to produce the final score of 4-2.

The offense managed just 14 hits in the two games, just four of them extra base hits. Still, there was a lot to like from the two young starters, and at this point in the season, Royals fans will take any positives they can. The Royals fall to 26-67 and will try to avoid the sweep tomorrow with Brady Singer scheduled to face Zach Eflin at 1:10 CT.