There’s not much to say about how the Royals offense has performed thus far in 2023. Kansas City entered tonight with a league-worst 54 wRC+ with runners in scoring position and the Tigers are the only American League team to score fewer runs.
So, you have to take the little victories.
The Royals piled on the hits and stranded a small army on the bases across the first five innings, then went radio silent for the last four. But they got just enough timely hits to support Brady Singer’s comeback party and created a cushion just big enough to endure a struggling Royals bullpen in a 5-4 win.
Kansas City pushes its record to 6-18 while Arizona falls to 13-12.
The Royals offense roughed up Diamondbacks starter Ryne Nelson straight out of the gate with singles from Bobby Witt Jr, Salvador Perez, and Edward Olivares, giving Kansas City a 1-0 lead.
Nelson settled in a bit, but found himself back in trouble in the 4th with a two-out double from Dozier, scoring on a Nicky Lopez single, putting the Royals up 2-0. A Perez single and Olivares double set up Michael Massey’s RBI single and Franmil Reyes’ sacrifice fly in the 5th, making it a 4-1 advantage after Arizona got a run back in the 4th.
Through five innings, Kansas City logged 11 hits. Entering tonight’s game, this offense had only reached that mark in four of its 23 games. That’s good news.
Nelson exited after the 5th, finishing his evening with those 11 hits to his name, but just four runs after stranding 12 Royal runners. That’s bad news.
Nevertheless, the Royals had a lead, a rarity this season, and Brady Singer was putting together a nice bounce back performance against a hot Arizona team that has scored at least five runs in eight of its last nine outings.
He gave up some hard contact, mostly in the 4th which included a triple to Corbin Carroll, which led to him scoring the only run of the night against singer. However, compared to his last three outings that saw Singer give up 18 runs in 16 innings of work, tonight was a nice recovery.
He finished the night after giving the Royals six innings of one-run ball, striking out five Diamondbacks in the process and failing to issue a single free pass.
Arizona got one back in the 7th and cut the lead in half to 4-2 against Taylor Clarke, but Kansas City got it right back. Michael Massey led of with a single, his 2nd hit of the day, and his third straight game with two hits. Massey scored on a Kyle Isbel triple, boosting the lead to 5-2.
Aroldis Chapman entered the 8th having given up just one earned run in nine outings. He wasn’t so lucky tonight. Two singles and two stolen bases set the table old friend Emmanuel Rivera’s two RBI single, made worse by a throwing error by Witt Jr that put the tying run in scoring position. Manager Matt Quatraro went and got Chapman in favor of a struggling Scott Barlow. Fortunately, Barlow saved the day, striking out the next two Diamondbacks to keep a 5-4 lead intact headed into the 9th.
Barlow found himself immediately in trouble in the bottom half, surrendering a leadoff double to Geraldo Perdomo. Josh Rojas grounded out to 2nd, moving Perdomo to 3rd representing the tying run. Barlow got a huge popout from Ketel Marte, and with first base open, pitched around Carroll, ultimately walking him.
Carroll had torched the Royals all night, but the walk ultimately allowed Carroll to steal 2nd and put the winning run in scoring position. However, Barlow was able to get Christian Walker to ground out, ending the game and securing a much needed win.
Up Next: Royals at Diamondbacks, Wednesday, April 25, 2:40 CDT, Chase Field. LHP Ryan Yarbrough (0-2, 7.62) v. Zac Gallen (3-1, 2.59 ERA).