KANSAS CITY, MO (TodayNews) — Bobby Witt Jr. homered and tripled with three RBIs, as the Kansas City Royals beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-4 on Sunday for their second win in 10 games.
Witt and Drew Waters became the first Royals teammates to earn a triple and a homer in the same game. In a game that sped up to 1 hour and 54 minutes, Brady Singer (6-8) won for the second time in seven starts since June 4.
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“The slider was really good, had some good corners and misses, and shifted when I needed it,” Singer said.
He needed 70 innings in seven innings and was leading 7-0 before Isaac Paredes hit a solo homer and Francisco Mejia made a three-point drive for the AL’s top Rays (60-36).
“When you have a sinker that works that way and he puts the ball down early, it gives him a lot of confidence that he can work fast and move efficiently in the game.” This was stated by Royals manager Matt Quatraro.
The singer allowed four runs and seven hits in a season-high eight innings as Kansas City improved to 27-67, the second-worst record in the major leagues and only ahead of Oakland.
“It’s a vintage mover,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “You rely on late movement to get the ball to the ground and this is what happened. He just had some extra movement today, which made things a little more difficult for us.”
The early advantage gave Singer the confidence to attack hitters.
“It gave me the opportunity to stay in the zone more,” he said. “I was definitely more aggressive with that lead. I stayed in the zone for so long. Landing so many punches helped me get them to swing early.”
Zach Eflin (10-5) gave up a season-high five runs and seven hits in three innings, a season-high, allowing seven of his first 11 batters to hit. The Rays have won three games in a row after their worst seven-game losing streak of the season.
“I had a pretty bad bullpen before the game,” Eflin said. “I didn’t feel like I was in sync. The sinker didn’t work. I couldn’t figure out where the ball was going. I knew something was wrong with the game. I didn’t set the tone like I should have.”
In a game that started an hour late due to rain, Royals All-Star catcher Salvador Pérez went off in the second inning with discomfort in his left hamstring, hitting Melendez’s brace.
MJ Melendez had an RBI double with two outs in the first and the Royals opened up a 5-0 lead in the second. Waters hit an RBI triple and scored on a Nick Pratto single. Witt, who has an extra-base hit in six straight games, hit the top three with two runs and two strikeouts.
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“Watching guys before me hit bats well gives you confidence,” Witt said. “Just trying to keep it as simple as possible and just trying to swing the ball well.”
Waters tied for fourth against Yonny Chirinos, hitting a 465-foot home run to the top of the right field fountains.
Witt led fifth with his 16th homer and Melendez hit a solo homer in the eighth off the Chirinos.
Royals RHP Collin Snyder was moved to Omaha and RHP Max Castillo was recalled from the Triple-A team.
RHP Royals Josh Stowmont, placed in a 60-day IL on Saturday, is expected to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome and miss the remainder of the season.
Rays: LHP Shane McClanahan (11-1, 2.53) will return from a 15-day IL caused by a back injury to face Rangers RHP Dane Dunning (8-2, 2.84) in Texas on Monday.
Tigers: RHP Matt Manning (3-1, 3.72) takes on RHP Royals Jordan Liles (1-11, 6.42) in Kansas City on Monday.