Manager Mike Matheny, his coaching staff and the Royals’ front office were curious how rookie right-hander Brady Singer would respond after his fantastic outing in Cleveland on Thursday.
That was the night that Singer came within four outs of a no-hitter. He finished with a one-hitter through eight innings, striking out eight.
Would there be a letdown on Wednesday? Everyone got their answers quickly in Kansas City’s 4-0 win at Comerica Park as Singer nearly pitched an immaculate inning against the Tigers in the first inning, striking out the side on 10 pitches, not one out of the zone.
Singer retired the first 10 Tigers he faced before Willi Castro poked a slider at his ankles into short left field for a single in the fourth. Singer finished with six shutout innings and two singles.
Once again, Singer relied on tunneling his four-seam fastball, which averaged 93.5 mph and maxed out at nearly 96, and his knee-buckling slider. Against Cleveland, Singer threw his changeup just twice. Against the Tigers, he didn’t need it at all.
Singer, who walked one and struck out eight, had only one mildly stressful moment. After Castro’s bloop hit, Jeimer Candelario reached on an infield single with two out. But Singer got Niko Goodrum to tap a one-hopper back at him for an easy out.
Singer threw 81 pitches — 41 sliders, 40 four-seamers — and 58 went for strikes. Thirty-four were either called strikes or whiffs, and as with the Indians last week, the Tigers seemed mystified about which pitch was coming, the slider or the fastball.
All the offense Singer needed was delivered by Salvador Perez in the first inning when Perez belted a fastball from rookie lefty Tarik Skubal over the left-field fence for a two-run homer. Perez also doubled in a run in the sixth.
Skubal was drafted by the Tigers in the same 2018 MLB Draft that gave the Royals Singer.