KC Royals News: Big trip begins, Naturals enjoy huge night, ex-pitchers update

Rounding up some Friday morning Kansas City news.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
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Let's not be too surprised, if surprised at all, that the KC Royals walked off the Yankees 4-3 at Kauffman Stadium Thursday afternoon. They were due after losing four straight games, three of them to the Yanks, and coming from behind, this time in their last at-bat, is something now expected of the 2023 club.

The victory, grabbed away from New York when Maikel Garcia doubled home MJ Melendez and Kyle Isbel in the ninth, restored the Royals to 10 games above .500 (40-30) and cut Cleveland's American League Central lead over them to five games. It also ended a string of nine straight games against AL division leaders.

Don't think, however, that things now get easier. They don't — the Royals left after the game for Los Angeles, where they're set to take on the National League West-leading Dodgers tonight, Saturday evening, and Sunday afternoon. LA is 42-28 and has a six-game lead over San Diego in the West; simply put, Kansas City has its hands full for the next three days.

Scheduled to start tonight's 9:10 p.m. CDT contest are Cole Ragans for Kansas City and Gavin Stone for the Dodgers.

The Royals take Monday off before playing three at Oakland. At 26-45 through Thursday, the A's offer Kansas City a nice shot at a sweep.

Kansas City's Double-A affiliate put on a power show Thursday night

While the Royals and Yankees stayed relatively quiet at the plate Thursday, Northwest Arkansas lit up Texas League rival Springfield 14-3. The Naturals put the game out of reach early by hammering the Cardinals for 10 runs over the first three innings.

Power was the name of the Naturals' game. They slugged five homers, including one in each of the first three frames that collectively accounted for seven runs. Gavin Cross, considered the organization's seventh-best prospect by MLB Pipeline, hit his seventh of the season; Kevin Padlo, signed just last week, clubbed his first as a Natural; Javier Vaz, ranked by Pipeline as KC's No. 15 prospect, and Diego Hernandez clubbed their second homers; and Rodolfo Durán chipped in his eighth.

Also encouraging was starter Mason Barnett. Barnett, whose season began quite well but became bumpy in May — he gave up 25 runs in 28 innings — limited opponents to three runs for the third straight game. Rated as the Royals' fifth-best prospect by Pipeline, he's 3-4 with a 5.90 ERA.

Now 28-32, Northwest Arkansas is in fourth place in the Texas League North.

The Royals may face an old friend in Los Angeles

Chances are good that Dodger reliever Ryan Yarbrough will see action against Kansas City this weekend. The Royals traded Yarbrough, then 4-5 with a 14-game 4.24 ERA, to the Dodgers at last season's deal deadline; he finished 4-2, 4.89 for LA, and is 3-1, 3.11 for the club this year.

And speaking of former Kansas City pitchers...

Left-handed reliever Tim Hill, a Royal in 2018 and 2019 and a Padre from 2020-2023, is in DFA limbo. He'd been pitching for the White Sox this season and had a 1-0 record with a 5.87 ERA in 27 games before the Sox designated him for assignment Wednesday.

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