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Brady Singer starts strong, Royals win 2-1

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The Royals finally provided Brady Singer with some run support

Brady Singer throws a pitch Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Not to toot my own horn, but I predicted a pitcher’s duel in the game thread and that is exactly what was delivered. Matthew Boyd went eight innings and gave up only two runs, one earned. That would have been much more frustrating for Royals fans if Brady Singer hadn’t been his opposite number. But we’ll come back to him in a moment.

All the runs of the game were scored in the fifth inning. Boyd had pitched four perfect innings and seemed to be cruising. Jorge Soler led off the inning but was gifted a called ball in the strike zone. Soler took advantage and roped a double into the left-field corner. He moved up to third when Hanser Alberto lined a single to left. That’s when things really fell apart for the Tigers’ defense.

Soler scored when Andrew Benintendi hit a grounder to Jonathan Schoop, a natural second-baseman today at first, and Schoop threw high to second base; they still got the out there but the high throw prevented the Tigers from completing the double play and allowed Soler to score. Michael A. Taylor hit a bloop single into right and Benintendi tried to go first to third but the throw from rightfield bounced off of his helmet and allowed him to score what ended up being the deciding run.

Those were the first two runs scored in support of Brady Singer all year.

The Tigers scored their run in the bottom of the inning when shortstop Willi Castro led off the inning with a solo shot. That was the only mistake that Singer would pay for all day. Now that we’ve talked about the scoring, let’s talk about Brady Singer.

Brady Singer was phenomenal today. It was easily his best start of 2021. Which makes it his best start since his final start of 2020 when he faced the Tigers and pitched seven innings while allowing only one run. This one was better, though. He walked none and allowed only three hits - beyond the home run he gave up a pair of singles - and he struck out eight, the fourth time he has reached that career high.

He took up right where Mike Minor left off last night, keeping batters off-balance all day long with his two-seam fastball and slider. He seems to have developed a talent this year for throwing that two-seamer as a backdoor strike, something he couldn’t do as well last year. It completely fools hitters every time and it’s a lot of fun to watch.

Brady Singer’s start isn’t just his best of the year, but arguably the best start for any Royals’ pitcher this season. He dropped his ERA to 2.95 and became the first Royals’ starter to pitch into the seventh inning, much less complete the seventh inning, so far in 2021. He got the bullpen a much-needed break as only Scott Barlow and Josh Staumont needed to pitch in relief.

Notes

  • Neither team walked a batter the entire game
  • Matt Boyd lowered his ERA to 1.82 while taking the loss
  • Singer struck out the side while facing the 1-2-3 hitters in both the first and sixth innings.
  • This was the Royals’ first game without an error since the first game of the doubleheader a week ago.
  • Staumont is the sixth Royals’ pitcher to earn a save this year. The others are Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Scott Barlow, Jesse Hahn, and Kyle Zimmer. It was also Staumont’s first major-league save.

The Royals have guaranteed a series split with the Tigers with today’s win. Tomorrow afternoon, Danny Duffy (2-1, 0.50 ERA) will attempt to take the baton and grab a series victory. He will be opposed by Michael Fulmer (1-1 3.94 ERA). Fulmer once seemed likely to become a staff ace for Detroit but has struggled the last couple of years. He’s never done great against Kansas City, anyway, with a career mark of 2-5 with a 4.96 ERA in 11 starts against the boys in blue.