Brady Singer delivered yet another excellent start and the offense came to life late as the Royals rallied for a 5-3 victory over Arizona.
The first few innings were fairly uneventful, with both teams threatening but failing to push across any runs against starting pitchers Singer and Zac Gallen. The Royals had a scoring opportunity in the third inning. MJ Melendez reached first with one out and, after a Bobby Witt Jr. flyout, Salvador Perez stepped to the plate. He smoked a curveball down and out of the zone for a base hit to left field. But Melendez was sent around third and cut down at home plate to end the inning. The highlight of the early part of the game was Drew Waters recording his first major league hit on a chopper over the third baseman. Congratulations Drew!
Daulton Varsho kicked off the scoring in the top of the fifth with a leadoff solo homer off a hanging slider from Brady Singer. Kansas City had a golden opportunity to respond in the bottom of the frame. Hunter Dozier led off the inning with a double, his first extra base hit since August 5th. Nicky Lopez sacrificed him to third, and Drew Waters followed by battling back from 1-2 to draw a walk. But Melendez went down looking on fastball inside, and Witt hit a can of corn to right to end the inning.
Gallen was mercifully replaced by Noé Ramirez to begin the seventh and Kansas City got to work. Shades of 2014 appeared as the Royals small-balled their way to a run in the bottom of the seventh. Kyle Isbel led off the inning with a single and stole second. Dozier advanced him to third with a flyout to right. Nicky Lopez stepped to the plate and put down a bunt on the first pitch. The squeeze play worked to perfection as Isbel slid into home ahead of the tag from Carson Kelly to tie the game. After Joe Mantiply entered the game to replace Ramirez, Waters and Melendez knocked consecutive singles to give Kansas City a 2-1 lead. Witt then came through with the dagger, crushing a ball into the Sonic Slam seats to extend the lead to 5-1.
With a lead in tow, the Royals bullpen managed to hold serve. Carlos Hernández pitched a clean eighth inning. Scott Barlow was shaky in the ninth, allowing two runs via a walk, a series of wild pitches, and a homer to Christian Walker, but he managed to retire the side in the ninth to lock down a 5-3 victory.
Singer was excellent once again, allowing only the solo homer in seven strong innings. This was Singer’s ninth consecutive start in which he completed at least six innings. He has a 2.01 ERA in that span. I seem to remember a certain handsome baseball writer insisting that he was a good pitcher earlier this season. To his credit, Gallen was also excellent, throwing six shutty to extend his scoreless streak to a remarkable 27.1 innings.
The Royals move to 51-75 with the win, though they still lost the season series 1-3 to Arizona. Kansas City will take a breather tomorrow before welcoming the San Diego Padres to town for a three game set starting Friday night.
Brady Singer - 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HR
Zac Gallen - 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 HR
Bobby Witt Jr. - 1-4, HR, 3 RBI, R
Christian Walker - 2-4, HR, RBI, R