The KC Royals and Brady Singer gave us two hours of classic ball Saturday.
Forget, if just for a moment, exit velocities, launch angles, and the like. Savor instead the good old-fashioned pitchers’ duel the KC Royals and Detroit were kind enough to deliver Saturday.
It was, to be sure, a small ball nail-biter, a throwback of sorts to the days not so long ago when home runs, rocket-like exit speeds and 100-mph fastballs weren’t the most favored features of so many games.
Thanks primarily to starters Brady Singer and Matthew Boyd, this quick (2:10) Comerica Park contest was a game to be enjoyed and remembered for the precision of its pitchers.
Singer, completely undaunted by a maddeningly incredible lack of run support in each of his first three starts—the Royals averaged 2.67 runs in those games, but didn’t score in any of them before Singer departed—struck out the side in the first inning, retired the first six and 12 of the first 13 batters he faced, and fanned eight in seven innings. He didn’t issue a walk and surrendered just three hits and a run.
Boyd pitched well enough to win, but didn’t. He gave up only three hits in eight frames, but the Tigers, now owners by percentage points of the worst record in baseball, gave the game to American League Central-leading Kansas City in the fifth (fortunately while Singer was still in the game) when Victor Reyes’ throwing error allowed Andrew Benintendi to score on Michael A. Taylor’s single to right. It was KC’s second run and all it needed for a 2-1 win:
The Tigers scored their lone run on Singer’s only real mistake of the day, an 0-2 slider Will Castro slugged over the right field fence to start the fifth.
Kansas City manager Mike Matheny, realizing how much of his game Singer was on (he looked much like the rookie pitcher who came so close to no-hitting Cleveland last season), entrusted his sophomore hurler with most of the game even though his pitch count approached 100 (93 to be exact). Matheny, however, bowed to the better part of managerial discretion and turned things over to Scott Barlow, who retired Detroit in order in the eighth, and then Josh Staumont, who did the same to the Tigers in the ninth to notch his first big league save.
Singer lowered his ERA to 2.95, Barlow’s dropped to 2.70, and Staumont’s is a miniscule 0.82. (Danny Duffy’s 0.50 is the team’s best).
So it was that on a day the first-place Royals so needed it, Singer gave the club what was required of him, Barlow and Staumont finished it up, and Kansas City and Detroit, two teams headed in such opposite directions, gave us a game to be savored for its own classic sake, the kind seen too infrequently in the age of the long ball and blazing pitch.
Fortunately for the Royals, their hurlers came through.
The KC Royals, now 12-7, beat Detroit, now 7-14, for the second straight time Saturday to assure themselves of nothing worse than a split of this four-game series. Game 3 is set for 12:10 p.m. CDT Sunday.