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Big first inning stings Singer, Royals

Royals.comAugust 23, 2020

KANSAS CITY — Royals rookie right-hander Brady Singer had been thinking for days about how to mix up his sequencing so he wouldn’t look predictable to the Twins, whom he was facing for the third straight time.

Singer didn’t have a ton of success.

Singer had only allowed one first-inning run through his first five starts. But he was tagged with three on Saturday night in the Royals’ 7-2 loss at Kauffman Stadium.

Singer allowed a leadoff double to Max Kepler, who went to third on an infield single by Jorge Polanco. Eddie Rosario followed, jumped on a first-pitch slider and smashed a three-run homer to right-center.

“[The Twins] had a good game plan against him,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “They came right out of the box swinging against him. He got on his heels a little, but he got into a little rhythm after that.

“We’ve all been talking about this for several days, that he was going to face them for the third time, and how would he be able to mix it up. It’s definitely a challenge. I was confident he was going to mix it up down in the zone. He’s been effective with the high strikes, and he did make some good pitches down in the zone. But they were ready.”

Singer said afterward he thought his approach was the right one facing the Twins yet one more time.

“I think they put some good at-bats together,” Singer said. “If anything, my off-speed pitches weren’t as good as I’d like them to be.”

Still, Singer really only made one glaring mistake in that first inning, the slider that sat middle-middle to Rosario.

“It kind of popped out of my hand, and he put a good swing on it,” Singer said.

Singer settled down after that and retired nine of the next 11 hitters he faced.

But Miguel Sanó plastered a 3-2 fastball that was down and in to lead off the fourth inning — the ball caromed off the Royals’ Hall of Fame building beyond the left-field bullpen. Statcast projected it traveled 458 feet.

Singer has been working this season to develop his changeup. But he only threw it twice Saturday.

“I probably could have thrown it more,” Singer said, “but I didn’t think there were too many situations for it. Maybe when I study the game, I’ll feel differently.”

Meanwhile, the Royals’ on-again, off-again offense mostly fired blanks again.

Kansas City did rise up for two runs in the fifth inning. Alex Gordon, who had two hits and is starting to look better at the plate, ripped a home run to center field off of Randy Dobnak.

Later, with runners on first and second, Nicky Lopez slapped an RBI double down the left-field line, and the Royals suddenly were within 4-2.

But Hunter Dozier then blistered a 104-mph liner right back at Dobnak, who made a remarkable catch, mostly in self-defense.

“You look at the ball that Dozier smashed up the middle,” Matheny said, “that [could be] a tie game there. The ball caught [Dobnak], right into his glove.”

And the Royals certainly had other chances.

Kansas City had runners on first and second and none out in the third inning but stranded both runners.

In the sixth inning, Jorge Soler led off and reached on catcher’s interference for the second time in the game — Soler now has drawn five catcher’s interference calls in his career with the Royals, the most in franchise history. Mike Macfarlane and Gordon shared the previous mark with three. Soler also is the only Royals player in club history to draw two in one game.

Ryan McBroom then singled. Gordon walked with one out to load the bases.

But Adalberto Mondesi and pinch-hitter Ryan O’Hearn each struck out and the threat fizzled. The Royals now are 2-for-20 with the bases loaded, and 0 for their last 11.

Mondesi, with a runner on third and less than two outs this season, is now 1-for-7 with five strikeouts.

“You’ve got to trust your swing, though,” Matheny said. “With less than two outs, you just have to find a way to put the ball in the middle. We’ll take the one run, and when you think that way, that simple mentality is you find a gap and get multiple runs.”

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2021. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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