Brady Singer has been almost untouchable since his return to the Kansas City Royals. He will look for his third straight stellar outing on Saturday afternoon as the Royals take on the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis.
Singer (1-0, 1.83 ERA) will face Minnesota's Chris Archer (0-1, 3.86).
The Twins evened the four-game series on Friday with a 10-7 victory.
Minnesota scored four runs in the first inning. The Royals came back to tie it in the top of the fourth, but the Twins responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. After the Royals cut the deficit to 6-5, the Twins answered with their second four-run rally, this one in the eighth inning, to blow it open.
Bobby Witt Jr. finished a double shy of becoming the first Kansas City player since George Brett in 1990 to hit for the cycle.
Singer was sent to Triple-A Omaha after three ineffective relief appearances to start the season. He took his two-pitch repertoire and his 6.35 ERA and set out to hone his third pitch, a changeup.
The 25-year-old right-hander has returned to throw seven shutout innings twice: on May 17 against the Chicago White Sox and on Sunday versus the Twins. Singer threw 95 pitches against the Twins and allowed four hits and three walks while striking out three.
"You have one like that where Brady follows up his last start and is better," Royals manager Mike Matheny said. "You couldn't begin to ask him to do more."
Well, maybe Matheny could ask for nine scoreless innings, because Singer's latest outing came in what Matheny called the "worst loss of the season." After Singer handed off a 6-0 lead to the bullpen, the Twins scored five runs in the eighth inning and two in the ninth to take a 7-6 victory.
Singer's changeup has improved the quality of his other pitches -- as it's designed to do -- and the third-year major-leaguer is using it effectively.
"The changeup was good when it needed to be," Singer said Sunday. "I thought I made pitches at the right time. I felt good, and all three pitches were working well. My slider was sharp and fastball command felt good."
Singer has struggled against the Twins in his career, going 1-5 with a 4.86 ERA in eight career starts.
Archer is looking for his own renaissance. A two-time All Star, Archer has been unproductive in the last few years. He hasn't won more than three games in a season since 2018.
He struggled with injuries last season, only making five starts for the Tampa Bay Rays. In his first year with the Twins, Archer is finally healthy but has struggled to go deep in games. He has thrown between 61 and 79 pitches in each of his eight starts, never finishing five innings. He's confident the quantity will come.
"I have no restrictions, no limitations," he said last month about his recovery. "I feel good. It's a lot different from last year, because once I got to a certain spot, I couldn't handle the volume. That's not the case now."
Archer faced the Royals on April 19, getting a no-decision after he allowed two runs in 4 1/3 innings. He is 2-4 with a 4.03 ERA in eight career starts against Kansas City.
--Field Level Media