April 5. That was the last day that the Kansas City Royals defeated Cleveland, against whom they had lost 11 consecutive games over a span of five months. But tonight, the Royals managed to get not one, but two wins against Cleveland. Kansas City won the first 7-2 behind a nice Brady Singer start and a flurry of home runs, and won the second 4-2 with some sharp bullpen pitching and timely plate discipline.
The MVPs for today: Nicky Lopez and Hunter Dozier, who were on base a combined seven times. The LVPs for today: Carlos Santana and Ryan O’Hearn, who both went hitless in a combined nine plate appearances.
First Game: Royals hit trio of two-run home runs behind stellar return outing from Brady Singer
Activated earlier today from a trip to the Injured List, Brady Singer hit the ground running with what is technically still a complete game. Over his seven innings thanks to doubleheader rules, Singer allowed only a pair of runs and struck out seven against only one walk. It could have been much worse, but Singer wormed out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning of his own making—having walked Jose Ramirez and hit Bobby Bradley with a pitch—by striking out Owen Miller looking. He mostly cruised afterwards.
Meanwhile, the Royals offense was clicking. Against beanpole pitcher Triston McKenzie (no, seriously, he’s listed at 6’5” and 165 lbs), the Royals swatted not one, not two, but three two-run home runs. Hunter Dozier crushed the first and Andrew Benintendi the second. Salvador Perez then crushed his 46th dinger of the year on a hanging slider, moving ever-closer to Jorge Soler’s single-season record and passing Mike Sweeney for second on the all-time Royals franchise leaderboard with 198.
Elsewhere in the Royals lineup, Nicky Lopez continued to impress with a pair of hits to push his batting average to .302. Meanwhile, Carlos Santana and Ryan O’Hearn (rather predictably, if we’re being honest) did the opposite, as they were the only two Royals to fail to get on base today. Oh, and Adalberto Mondesi picked up two more stolen bases, because why not.
Second Game: Unusually great plate discipline, bullpen performances helps propel Kansas City to 4-2 victory
You probably know that Salvador Perez is continuing to set a new personal bet every time he slaps a dong. But did you know that he’s also continuing to set a new personal record in walks? It’s true! coming into today, Salvy had walked 29 times, with his previous career high coming in 2016 where he walked 25 times. Today, his somewhat increased plate discipline was very important.
It was a bullpen game today for both teams, so the Royals kicked off the top of the first against Nick Wittgren. Nicky Lopez tagged him for a hustle double, and then Wittgren quickly worked Salvy to an 0-2 count. Except that Salvy walked. Inspired by such an astounding display of restraint, Andrew Benintendi walked. And with the bases loaded, Carlos Santana walked in a run. Hunter Dozier added an additional run with an opposite-field fly ball that juuuuuust barrreelly missed for a grand slam. He settled for a sac fly and a 2-0 lead.
For the Royals’ part, their bullpen was just better than the Cleveland bullpen. Domingo Tapia, Jake Brentz, and Josh Staumont were particularly dangerous, throwing a combined 3.2 innings, allowing one (1) baserunner, and striking out five. Joel Payamps started the game, while Scott Barlow finished it; Cleveland managed one home run against both, but they were solo shots and did not break the game open. All told, the Royals bullpen did not issue a single walk. Nice!
Otherwise, it was a rather quiet game. Hanser Alberto singled in Kyle Isbel for the Royals’ fourth run of the game, and Sebastian Rivero hit a ground ball for the Royals’ third run of the game. Rivero also threw out his first runner, gunning down...Franmil Reyes?...who took off for some reason.
The Royals are in the midst of their last road trip of the year, as the games played ledger ticks closer and closer to 162. They play Cleveland again twice more, once on Tuesday and once on Wednesday—note the odd 5:10 p.m. Central start time—before a day off on Thursday, after which they’ll play a three-game set against the Detroit Tigers over the weekend. The Royals are now 69-82 with 11 more games to play.