Singer continues to grow with 1st MLB win

August 9th, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- The big league education of Royals rookie right-hander continues.

Sunday’s lesson: Don’t try to field 100-mph grounders with your bare hand.

Singer, the Royals’ No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, did exactly that on a grounder from Minnesota’s Byron Buxton. Fortunately, Singer wasn’t hurt, but the event seemed to rattle him and he allowed two runs that inning.

The Royals went on to beat the Twins, 4-2, for their fourth straight victory and a series sweep.

Kansas City certainly impressed Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, who said, “They came out [and] threw the ball exceptionally well. It’s not the only part of their game that looked good this series. They went out and beat us three straight games from beginning to end. They swung the bats better, they threw the ball better and they made plays.”

After Buxton’s ball caromed off Singer for an infield hit, Singer promptly uncorked a wild pickoff throw to first, allowing Buxton to reach third base. Singer then walked the No. 9 hitter, Alex Avila.

And Singer then left a 1-2 fastball middle-in to Max Kepler, who ripped an RBI double. An RBI groundout followed and the Twins tied the score at 2.

Royals manager Mike Matheny had a chat with Singer about the bare-hand attempt.

“He made a play I’m confident he’s not going to try to do again,” Matheny said. “It’s natural instincts, but that’s something we have to undo for all of our guys. That could have gone really bad, not just with the injury but with numbness.”

Singer vows he will not try it again.

“I’ve [done that] my whole entire career,” Singer said. “And I need to pay attention to the shift more. I think there’s no one behind me and then you see two guys waiting there with open arms.”

But credit Singer with this: He worked through dangerous jams over the next two innings and made it through five innings.

The 24-year-old got Buxton on a harmless fly to center with two on and two out in the fourth.

Singer then made his best pitch of the day with two on and two out in the fifth, handcuffing Eddie Rosario with a 1-2 fastball that Rosario could only pop into left-center, ending the threat.

“He did a nice job of regaining his composure and getting out of that jam,” Matheny said, “and then getting some big outs in the middle of their order.”

Singer allowed five hits and two runs, walked two and struck out four. He labored at times, needing 95 pitches -- his most in his four starts.

But Singer also recorded his first big league victory, a special moment.

“It was unbelievable,” Singer said. “Hopefully there will be many more to come. I’m going to enjoy this and soak it in. You only get your first win once.

“This is a blast. Everyone says winning is more fun -- it’s a lot more fun at this level.”

Singer can thank the Royals’ bullpen, too, which behind , and shut the Twins down over the final four innings.

“It was really good baseball this series,” Matheny said. “We wanted to see speed and defense and pitching, and guys are doing what we need them to do.

“We started to envision about halfway through Spring Training how good this bullpen could be. And individually, they are all getting it done.”

Meanwhile, the Royals welcomed back from the injured list (COVID-19). Dozier flipped a two-run single through the shift in the first inning.

The Royals manufactured a run in the third to break a 2-2 tie. walked and then slapped a 2-2 curveball on the ground into right field as Merrifield was running. Merrifield took third. The pitch to Soler was about eight inches off the plate, and the exit velocity on the grounder was all of 59 mph.

then lifted a sacrifice fly to right.