Brady Singer has had an up and down year but one thing he has consistently been good at is limiting home runs. He had allowed nine bombs over 24 starts and 116 innings pitched. Tonight he allowed five home runs and didn’t manage to escape the fifth inning. Byron Buxton, Nick Gordon, Max Kepler, and Jorge Polanco (twice) all took him deep; The first four bombs were solo shots but Polanco’s second blast came with a runner on and led to Singer’s exit one batter later. Singer did strike out seven on the night but three of those were Josh Donaldson who just seemed utterly dazzled by Singer’s slider and only got so many at-bats because Singer was giving up dingers to everyone else.
For the Twins, MIchael Pineda managed to mostly keep Royals hitters just off-balance enough to avoid any real damage. He only struck out three but didn’t allow any walks and only gave up five hits and one run in five innings of work. The lone run came off the bat of the lava-hot Andrew Benintendi. Nicky Lopez hit a lead-off single in the fourth, Salvador Perez got beaned, and Benny hit single up the middle to beat the shift and bring home Lopez.
For those of you keeping track at home, Singer did throw five changeups tonight but none were particularly close to being strikes. He also filled up the middle of the zone with sinkers and sliders, hence all the home runs. These are not the kinds of homers where you tip your hat to the hitter, they are bad mistakes. And they were not the only ones he made on the night.
Given the massive score-difference, manager Mike Matheny got to use his less-trusted relievers. Tyler Zuber, Wade Davis, and Kyle Zimmer all appeared. Wade Davis allowed three runs. The hits that drove in the runs were a broken bat blooper into right-center which ended Davis’ night and a eight-hopper through the middle that avoided the shift against Zimmer.
The Royals scored the final run of the night on back-to-back doubles from eight- and nine-hole hitters Hanser Alberto and Hunter Dozier with two outs in the ninth inning.
- Benintendi had two more hits tonight which means he’s still batting .500 on the road trip.
- Singer had never allowed three home runs in a game before. Tonight, he’d allowed that many before getting out of the second inning.
- With tonight’s performance, Zuber now has six straight appearances without allowing a walk. He has, unfortunately, allowed three runs in six innings over that span but the reduction in walks is a great sign considering his struggles in the big leagues prior to now.
- Zimmer now has three straight scoreless appearances. This is the first time he has achieved that since June 15-20.
- Third-base coach Vance Wilson was ejected for arguing from the dugout. Tony Pena Jr. took over his coaching duties.
- Elsewhere, old friend Lorenzo Cain made a fantastic catch to preserve a no-hitter for the Brewers in the eighth inning of that game.
- Old friend Danny Duffy could not complete a scheduled bullpen session today and seems unlikely to pitch again, this year. Whatever the Royals get from the Dodgers in that trade is pure value, now.
The Royals will play yet another rubber match tomorrow afternoon. They have 20 games left and they need to win at least nine of them in order to avoid losing 90 games this year. Kris Bubic (4-6 5.05 ERA) will face off against rookie right-hander Bailey Ober (2-2 4.00 ERA.) It will be Ober’s second start against the Royals and Bubic’s fourth appearance but third start against the Twins.