KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a two-run homer with two out in the eighth inning, helping rally the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
Hayes hit his 11th homer of the season 424 feet to left-center to erase a one-run deficit. In the ninth inning, Liover Peguero added a three-run homer and Jack Suwinski scored on a Kansas City error.
The Pirates won the series opener 5-0 on Monday and will try to win three in a row on Wednesday for only second time since the All-Star break. Pittsburgh hasn’t swept a series since June 27-29 against San Diego.
Luis Ortiz (3-4) allowed just one run on three hits in five innings of relief to get the victory.
Carlos Hernandez (1-9), one of five Kansas City pitchers, gave up the home run to Hayes and took the loss.
The Royals lost a series for the seventh time in eight tries and would need to go 16-12 in their final 28 games to avoid matching the franchise record of 106 losses from 2005.
Kansas City squandered a solid effort by starter Cole Ragans, who allowed three hits, struck out nine and walked one in carrying a shutout into the seventh inning. With the nine strikeouts, he finished the month of August with 53 Ks, the second-most in Royals history behind Dennis Leonard’s 55 in June 1977. He has a 1.73 ERA in seven starts with the Royals since being acquired in mid-July from Texas for Aroldis Chapman.
The first hit of the game came with no outs in the bottom of the fourth, when Bobby Witt Jr. lined a single into left field. Salvador Perez then lined a single off the glove of Hayes, sending Witt to third with no outs. After striking out MJ Melendez, Ortiz walked Nelson Velazquez, loading the bases. Drew Waters hit a line drive that tipped off Connor Joe’s glove at first. Waters was retired, 4-3, but he picked up the game’s first RBI.
Ragans allowed his first baserunner on a leadoff walk to Joe in the fifth. He later gave up a two-out single to Peguero, ending his no-hit bid. He struck out Jack Suwinski to end the threat.
Steven Cruz made his MLB debut Tuesday for Kansas City. He was acquired in the offseason in a trade for Michael A Taylor from the Twins. He became the 34th pitcher to appear in a game this season for Kansas City, extending a club record set last year at 32.
The Royals added two runs in the ninth on an RBI single by Freddy Fermin.
Royals: RHP Steven Cruz was selected from Triple-A Omaha. In a corresponding move, LHP Taylor Hearn was optioned to Triple-A Omaha following Monday night’s game.
The Pirates and Royals conclude their three-game series Wednesday night. Neither team announced a starter.