On a California night when the KC Royals, trying to end a four-game losing skid, needed his best, frustratingly inconsistent starter Brady Singer didn't provide it.
What he did deliver, though, was good enough—2-4 with a miserable 7.71 ERA coming into his club's game with San Diego, Singer went six innings, struck out three, walked two, gave up four runs—only two of them earned—and held the Padres at bay long enough for the KC bullpen to take over and secure a 5-4 victory.
It was the second straight decent outing for Singer who, after Minnesota battered him for eight runs in just 2.2 innings April 30 and lowly Oakland knocked him around for five in four May 6, held the White Sox to a run in six frames six days ago. On this night, he didn't allow a run through four innings before a shaky KC defense contributed to him surrendering two in both the fifth and sixth frames.
All things considered, Singer's effort certainly wasn't the best of his career or season. But Singer piecing together two consecutive serviceable six-inning starts has to encourage him and the Royals. He'll get a shot at posting three good starts in a row when the Royals visit the White Sox this weekend, or when they host Detroit early next week.
The bullpen finished things up for Kansas City. Aroldis Chapman, Taylor Clarke and Scott Barlow shut out the Padres over the final three innings.
But pitching wasn't the only reason the Royals won.
The KC Royals wasted little time giving themselves an early lead Tuesday
Pitchers prefer working with nice early leads, and such a margin was precisely what Kansas City's offense, stifled so effectively by Michael Wacha the night before, delivered. And unlike too many early leads they've built this season, the Royals didn't squander it. They scored five times in the second inning, a quick barrage featuring Salvador Perez driving in a pair of runs with a double, run-scoring singles by Bobby Witt Jr. and Matt Duffy, and Nate Eaton's run-scoring fielder's choice.
For the night, the club went 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position. And Witt had two hits; so did slumping Maikel Garcia, who was 2-for-26 in the seven games immediately preceding this one. Unfortunately, Eaton's troubles at the plate continued—he's 2-for-45 (.044) after another hitless night.
Kansas City can win this three-game series with a victory this afternoon. First pitch at Petco Park is set for 3:10 p.m. CDT; Carlos Hernández, who hasn't started a big league game for almost a year (he last started May 19 against the White Sox but didn't figure in the decision), is scheduled to face Yu Darvish.