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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Royals Get First Win Of 2020 Season In Extra Inning Affair at Cleveland

By Jeffrey Flanagan – Royals.com

If right-hander Brady Singer is indeed part of the Royals’ future, that future could be very bright.

Singer, 23, made his Major League debut on Saturday evening at Cleveland and tossed five superb innings, giving up just three hits and two runs while striking out seven in the Royals’ 3-2, 10-inning victory over the Indians at Progressive Field.

• Box score

With a little luck, Singer, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Royals’ No. 2 prospect, could have thrown five shutout innings.

Singer showed the same type of command and stuff he displayed in Spring Training and Summer Camp — well-placed sinkers on the corners and a biting slider that made some hitters chase.

“There were obviously a few butterflies,” Singer said via a Zoom call. “But I just let the first pitch go as hard as I could. I just went to the scouting report and went from there.”

• Zimmer vs. Zimmer matchup on the horizon

Singer’s parents came to Cleveland from Florida, but had to watch the game from the hotel.

“It was still great knowing there were here,” Singer said.

The Royals broke a 2-2 tie in the 10th inning. Under the new extra-inning rules, the Royals began the inning with an automatic runner at second base. Pinch-hitter Erick Mejia moved the runner, Brett Phillips, to third base with a sacrifice bunt. Maikel Franco then drove in Phillips with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Singer was mostly on cruise control. He ran into some trouble in the third inning, when he stopped getting calls on the corners and some ground balls found holes.

Singer threw a 1-1 changeup to Bradley Zimmer with one out that fooled Zimmer and looked like it was on the outside corner. Instead, Zimmer got ahead in the count 2-1 and yanked the next pitch, a slider, on the ground into right field for a single.

César Hernández then pulled an 0-1 four-seamer into right field for a single, putting runners on first and third.

José Ramírez followed by pulling a first-pitch slider on the ground into right field, just past diving second baseman Nicky Lopez, scoring Zimmer. Right fielder Whit Merrifield made a perfect one-hop strike to third that would have been in time to nail Hernández for the second out. But Franco dropped the throw at third base.

A wild pitch that just skipped past catcher Salvador Perez then brought home Hernandez, tying the score, 2-2.

“I felt like I executed the right pitches at the right time,” Singer said. “I thought there were some strikes, but that is baseball. I think I made some good pitches when I needed it.”

Singer threw 80 pitches, 49 for strikes

The Royals took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Jorge Soler, last year’s American League home run champ with 48, belted a homer to left field, and Perez followed with a long home run to left-center. It was the first time in right-hander Mike Clevinger’s career he gave up back-to-back home runs.

Royals reliever Scott Barlow got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the ninth by getting two clutch strikeouts.

“He’s just so smart,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said of Barlow, via Zoom. “He knows how to stretch the zone a bit. Being able to get out of that is so impressive.”

Greg Holland, a huge part of the Royals’ run to back-to-back World Series from 2014-15 as the closer, was amazing in the 10th inning.

With the automatic runner on second, Holland hit Zimmer with a pitch. But Holland then struck out the next three hitters to secure his first Royals save since 2015.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.

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