The KC Royals are getting better, but not so much that they’re ready to meaningfully compete with teams like the Dodgers on a regular basis. That became painfully clear over the weekend when Los Angeles coasted past the Royals 8-3 Friday night, then thrashed them 13-3 Saturday evening.
Sunday, though, turned out perfectly for Kansas City. In a game many probably presumed lost before it began—not because Brady Singer and the Royals are so horrible, but instead because the Dodgers and starter Tyler Anderson, who was 13-1 coming into this one—are so, so good—KC rode Singer’s marvelous pitching and some key hitting to spoil LA’s hopes for a series sweep and its 12-game winning streak. The final was 4-0.
The win was the seventh of the club’s 11-contest homestand. The Royals now return to the road for three in Minnesota and four at Tampa Bay. For the moment, however, this team can savor Sunday’s win.
Especially because of the two losses that preceded it.
Baseball’s best thoroughly dominated the KC Royals Friday and Saturday.
The Dodgers left Kansas City Sunday just the way they arrived for Friday’s series opener—as MLB’s best team. They’re a whopping 45 games over .500 (79-34) after taking two of three from the Royals and have the game’s biggest division lead (16 games).
Facing the machine that’s the Dodgers didn’t intimidate Daniel Lynch, however. He shut out LA for five innings Friday night and, after throwing 105 pitches, left with his club locked in a scoreless tie reliever Amir Garrett maintained in the sixth.
But manager Mike Matheny’s decision to give the seventh inning to Josh Staumont backfired. Staumont didn’t retire a single Dodger and gave up five runs. Luke Weaver surrendered two, and Joel Payamps one, and the Royals managed only four hits.
Saturday night was worse. In only three innings, the Dodgers battered Brad Keller for eight runs and nine hits; the game, as the saying goes, was over almost as soon as it began.
A Dodger sweep was on.
But Singer was having none of it.
Brady Singer shut LA down Sunday and the KC Royals wouldn’t let him lose.
Go back five games before Sunday in Singer’s 2022 season, a period he began by beating Detroit July 13 in his last pre-All-Star Break outing. He gave the Tigers only one run that day and struck out six in six innings. He fanned 12 Tampa Bay Rays in a six-frame no-decision effort a week later. He held the Yankees to only a hit and struck out 10 in seven innings July 28 but left with the score tied before Aaron Judge walked the Royals off with a home run in the ninth.
Singer stumbled Aug. 3, giving up four runs and taking a loss against the White Sox, but improved his record to 5-4 by striking out six and surrendering only a run in beating the Sox Aug. 9.
No one, then, should have been shocked at what he did to the Dodgers Sunday.
Los Angeles managed only one hit, a fifth-inning single to Chris Taylor, off Singer in his six innings, and seven of them became his strikeout victims. Three walked, but Singer allowed only two runners to get as far as second base.
In short, there was nothing the best team in baseball could do against the Royal righty, whose Sunday win—his sixth of the year, a career high—ties him with Keller for the club lead.
The bullpen was just as good. Replacing Singer to begin the seventh, Garrett walked Gavin Lux, then struck out Trayce Thompson, Taylor, and Cody Bellinger in succession. Dylan Coleman had two outs in the eighth before Bobby Witt Jr. mishandled a grounder to short to put men at first and third, but Scott Barlow, summoned by Matheny to again handle a tight eighth-inning situation, fanned Max Muncy, then retired LA in order in the ninth for his 19th save.
And the Royal youngsters, who’ve so often led winning charges since the All-Star Break and trade deadline, did it again after veteran Salvador Perez showed them the way with a first inning run-scoring double. Rookie Vinnie Pasquantino singled in a run in the third to make it 2-0 and slammed this homer, his seventh of the season, in the eighth:
Second-year outfielder Kyle Isbel’s single in the sixth scored Pasquantino for the Royals’ other run.
The win gave Kansas City fans yet another glimpse of just how good the future might be.
The Royals open their three-game road series with the Twins tonight at 6:40 p.m. CDT.