KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Cole Ragans continued his recent success with six scoreless innings as the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 12-1 in the first game of a three-game series Monday.
The American League Pitcher of the Month for August, Ragans (6-4) retired the first 13 batters he faced and finished with just one hit allowed. He struck out seven and didn’t walk anyone. He now has a 21-inning scoreless streak.
“I’m just trying to finish the season strong,” he said after the game. “Every time I go out there I try to give us a chance to win. Today, the guys made it pretty easy. We put up 12, seven in the fifth. But even in the beginning, with one in the first, one in the second and one in the third, it made it a lot easier.
“Everybody is swinging a hot bat. I tried to get them out as quick as I could and get them back up to the plate.”
Edward Olivares was 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs. Every Royals starter except for Salvador Perez had at least one hit, and Perez had an RBI.
“I just try to attack every pitch,” said Olivares, who was recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Friday. “(The demotion is) just part of the process. I just did my routine. I was playing every day and seeing more pitches.”
Since coming to the Royals on June 30 in a trade for Aroldis Chapman, Ragans is 4-1 with a 1.51 ERA (eight earned runs in 47 2/3 innings) and 63 strikeouts in eight starts.
“He came out firing right from the get-go,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said of his new ace. “His stuff has been electric. Getting the lead was nice for him to have something to work with. But as far as he’s concerned, it’s more of the same.”
Jesse Scholtens (1-7) took the loss after allowing five runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.
“(It) just seemed like anytime he made a mistake, they made him pay for it,” manager Pedro Grifol said of Scholtens. “I know he didn’t feel that good about his fastball today, so he was heavy breaking ball. When he had to throw a breaking ball over the plate they squared it up.
“In games like that you’re always going to get inconsistent effort. Am I OK with it? I’m not. Am I going to address it? Yes, I am.”
“On the approach side, I thought their kid had pretty damn good stuff today and he got a good mix of pitches. He was pretty electric. You rarely hear me say that, but he was. We’ve just got to continue to work and make adjustments and do whatever we can,” Grifol said.
The Royals had hits and runs in each of the first five innings. They got on the board in the first on a home run by Olivares. A double by Michael Massey was followed by a single by Drew Waters in the second. In the third, Perez got a sacrifice fly to the second baseman.
Nelson Velazquez hit a two-run home run in the fourth to put the Royals up 5-0. Freddy Fermin led off with a single before Velazquez launched one 419 feet to left.
“He’s had very limited at-bats in the big leagues,” Quatraro said. “The power numbers he has are just scratching the surface of what he can do.”
Ragans finally gave up his first baserunner when Yoán Moncada dropped a single into short center with one out in the fifth. Ragans then got Lenyn Sosa to hit into a 5-4-3 double play.
The Royals erased any drama in the fifth. Massey drove in a run on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice. Waters added an RBI single, Nick Loftin added a two-run double, Garcia drove home Loftin with a double before Olivares hit his second homer of the day.
The White Sox scored an unearned run in the eighth.
White Sox: Recalled RHP Declan Cronin from Class AAA Charlotte; placed RHP Jimmy Lambert on the 15-day injured list with right ankle inflammation; reinstated C Seby Zavala from the injured list and designated him for assignment.
Royals: Reinstated RHP Brady Singer from the Paternity List. In a corresponding move, IF/OF Samad Taylor was optioned to Triple-A Omaha (postgame Sunday).
White Sox: OF Luis Robert, who was a late scratch Saturday against Detroit, was still out of the lineup with cramping in his right quad. Grifol said he likely wouldn’t play Tuesday but Wednesday is still possible.
Royals: OF Kyle Isbel was held out of the lineup with discomfort in his right hamstring. He missed time earlier this season with an injury to his left hamstring.
The White Sox and Royals will play the second game of a three-game series Tuesday night. The White Sox will hand the ball to Dylan Cease (6-7, 4.91 ERA). The Royals will send RHP Brady Singer (8-10, 5.15 ERA) to the mound.