Nick Pratto, the Royals’ first-round draft choice in 2017, had a great playoff debut Wednesday.
Pratto hit a home run, knocked in a pair of runs and stole two bases as the Lexington Legends opened the South Atlantic semifinal playoffs with a 3-1 home win over the Rome Braves.
It was Lexington’s first postseason victory since becoming the Royals’ Class A affiliate in 2013.
The Legends jumped to an early lead when center fielder Kyle Isbel opened the first inning by reaching on an error. He took second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Pratto, the Legends’ first baseman.
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After Rome tied it 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning, the Legends regained the lead in their half. Shortstop Cristian Perez singled, stole second and scored on a hit by catcher Sebastian Rivero. An inning later, Pratto drilled a solo home run to give the Legends a 3-1 lead and that’s how it ended.
“(Rome pitcher Alan Rangel) was working me away with the fastball tonight and he left one that caught a little bit of plate, I got barrel on it,” Pratto told MiLB.com. “It felt good to see it go over. We had a little mixup because there’s a chain-link fence on top of the wall and it hit that, but I knew that four umpires couldn’t miss that ... because I heard it hit the fence.”
Starting pitcher Jackson Kowar, who was taken by the Royals with the 33rd overall pick in this year’s draft, allowed a run on five hits with five strikeouts. Janser Lara gave up one hit in three shutout innings, and Tad Ratliff worked around a two-out double in the ninth for the save.
Game 2 is Friday night in Rome, Ga.