Twins hope to slow Royals’ Andrew Benintendi

National Sports

Right-hander Brady Singer will try to build on his most impressive start of the season when the Kansas City Royals chase a series victory against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis on Saturday night.

Singer (4-9, 4.58 ERA) pitched seven shutout innings Sunday in a 6-0 victory over the American League Central-leading Chicago White Sox, allowing just five hits and no walks while striking out six. The victory snapped Singer’s string of 12 starts without a win, a streak during which he went 0-5 with a 4.69 ERA.

Singer threw 106 pitches against the White Sox, 72 for strikes.

“The best fastball he’s had all season,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “The movement, the location, he found it. He was down. He was controlling the bottom of the zone. You could tell by some of the reactions (by Chicago batters) some of the late movement he had.”

It was Singer’s first win since June 1, when he helped pitch Kansas City to a 10-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Singer is 1-4 with a 4.97 ERA in six career starts against Minnesota (62-79), including 0-2 with a 4.22 ERA in three outings this year. He is 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA in two career starts at Target Field.

He will be opposed by Twins right-hander Michael Pineda (5-8, 3.99 ERA), who will make his first start since spending 23 days on the injured list with a mild left oblique strain following a 10-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 13.

Pineda, who is 6-6 with a 4.05 ERA in 12 career starts against the Royals, picked up the win with three scoreless innings of two-hit relief on Monday as Minnesota beat the Cleveland Indians 5-2. It was his first appearance after returning from the IL.

Kansas City (64-77), which is 11-5 in its past 16 road contests, took the opener of its three-game series 6-4 in 11 innings on Friday night.

Andrew Benintendi went 4-for-5 with two homers, including a two-run shot leading off the 11th that proved to be the game-winner, and five RBIs. He became the first player in Royals history with two five-RBI games in a three-game span, and he tied the franchise record with his third such game this season.

It also was Benintendi’s second multi-homer game of the season. The other occurred in Minneapolis on May 1.

“You try and savor these moments because they don’t always last two long,” said Benintendi, who is batting .500 (10-for-20) with three homers and 12 RBIs over the first five games of a seven-game trip that began in Baltimore. “Just trying to hit the ball hard. Keep it simple and not try to overthink it. Just go up there and try and swing at good pitches.”

Benintendi hit a three-run homer deep into the right-field bleachers in the first inning off a change-up by Twins starter Griffin Jax. He lined a two-run home run to left off another flat change-up by Juan Minaya in the 11th inning for the game-winner.

“It feels like every time we play them, no matter what’s going on, he finds a way to be productive, put good swings on the ball,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “At least part of our plan today was to mix things up a little bit, throw some change-ups. … He hit them very good.

Baldelli added, “Every year every team has a couple of guys that are thorns in their side. He’s been that this year against us.”

Benintendi said of Target Field, “I’ve always liked playing here. Feel like I see the ball well. That’s about all I can come up with.”

–Field Level Media

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