Vinnie Pasquantino hitless in MLB debut as Kansas City Royals fall to Texas Rangers

·3 min read
Reed Hoffmann/AP

Vinnie Pasquantino will have to wait at least another day to get his first major-league hit. And the Kansas City Royals will need an additional sunrise before getting the chance to end their latest losing streak.

Pasquantino went 0 for 4 in his MLB debut on Tuesday night, while the Royals pitchers were ineffective from the start in a 8-3 loss to the Texas Rangers at Kauffman Stadium.

KC has now lost four straight and will try to avoid a three-game sweep against Texas in an afternoon game Wednesday.

The Royals’ day began with buzz even if it ended with a thud.

Pasquantino was announced Tuesday morning as a starter, batting sixth as the Royals’ designated hitter. The 24-year-old, who’d been called up from Triple-A Omaha the previous day, batted .280 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs in 69 games with the Storm Chasers, adding 37 walks compared to 36 strikeouts.

His arrival — he ranks as a top-100 prospect at both FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline — literally drew a crowd Tuesday night. The Royals drew 19,593 fans on a weeknight game, and that included roughly 3,500 walk-up tickets, which the team reported as about twice the normal amount.

Those spectators weren’t treated to much of a game. KC starter Jonathan Heasley was hit hard from the start, with the most damage coming on a Marcus Semien three-run home run that made it 4-0 in the third; Semien picked on a 2-2 changeup after Heasley threw it to him three consecutive pitches.

“Probably got a little greedy there, going back to that for a third time,” Heasley said. “Don’t necessarily think it was the wrong pitch. It was up a little bit. If I execute it down, maybe he rolls it over. We were kind of trying to go away with it, and it just ran back over the middle.”

Heasley surrendered career highs in runs (seven) and hits (nine) during his 3 2/3 innings.

“It was just a tough one tonight,” Heasley said. “I just felt like I didn’t really have my best stuff tonight. Fastball command wasn’t really there.”

Pasquantino, meanwhile, wasn’t able to break through in his first start. He received a standing ovation before his first at-bat in the second, and on the first pitch, he bounced a 106-mph grounder up the middle at Semien, resulting in a 4-6-3 double play.

“I was telling him how special that was (the standing ovation) and hope that was something he’ll never forget, which I know he won’t,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “But his reply was, ‘Now, I gotta make them stand up for a reason.’

“So that’s just kind of how he thinks. As we’ve said from the beginning, he’s got a great personality. I hope he continues to let that shine.”

Later, Pasquantino grounded out to shortstop in the fourth, popped out to center in the seventh and flied out to left in the ninth to end the game.

“Right now, my current emotion is frustration, because we lost, so that’s a little disappointing,” Pasquantino said. “Obviously, from a personal side, it was a pretty monumental night for me. I’m really humbled by the city of Kansas City and the reaction of my first at-bat. ... I haven’t felt anything like that pretty much my entire life.”

KC (26-47) has now had seven separate losing streaks of at least four games this season.

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