Singer leads the way as Kansas City Royals break out of their funk against Cleveland

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The Kansas City Royals broke the spell the Cleveland Indians placed on them back in April, and the face of the franchise threw in a dash of baseball history for good measure.

Salvador Perez’s history-making 46th home run of the season just added the icing on the cake as the Royals snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Indians with a 7-2 win Monday afternoon in the first game of a doubleheader at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

The Royals hit three two-run home runs and scored in four of the seven innings as they improved to 68-82. Perez’s home run pushed him past Johnny Bench for the most home runs in major-league history for a primary catcher (having caught at least 75% of the games he played).

Perez went 2 for 4 with a home run. Hunter Dozier went 2 for 3 with a home run and three RBIs. Andrew Benintendi went 1 for 3 with a home run, and Nicky Lopez went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and extended his on-base streak to 29 games.

“The guys did a really good job of putting pressure on,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “The first five innings we had the leadoff guy on, action on the bases, guys being aggressive, moving guys over and then taking advantage of the home run with several guys being able to get in on that, with Doz getting us going, Benny and obviously Salvy’s is the one we’ll never forget. But Brady gives us a chance right there, and that’s really the most you can ask for.”

Royals starting pitcher Brady Singer pitched a seven-inning complete game, which makes his first career complete game not even the longest outing of his career. He actually pitched eight innings against the Indians in Progressive Field last season when he took a no-hitter into the eighth.

Singer struck out seven, allowed two runs on six hits and one walk in seven innings, and gave the bullpen the first game off.

“I think later in the game I just started getting ahead early,” Singer said. “I started seeing that they were getting aggressive throughout the game. I think that first pitch was super important and just pounding the strike zone. I think them knowing that I was going to attack the zone got them to swing a little bit earlier and got a lot of ground ball outs.”

Twelve of the 21 outs Singer recorded came on groundouts. Singer’s seven strikeouts were one shy of matching his career high.

He tossed 97 pitches (62 strikes) in his first outing after being placed on the injured list late last week for an undisclosed reason.

Singer became the 14th Royals player to throw a complete game of seven innings or fewer and the first since Edinson Vólquez (six innings) on May 23, 2015 against St. Louis.

“It’s awesome to definitely help the bullpen out,” Singer said. “It was good to go deep in the game. I think it was something we definitely needed, to get deep, and that’s what I did. I felt good pretty much the whole game.”

Dozier gave the Royals a two-run lead on a two-out, two-run homer in the second inning. He smashed a 2-1 fastball into the left-field stands for his 14th home run of the season.

The Royals continued to exorcise their demons against Indians starting pitcher Triston McKenzie when Benintendi blasted a two-run homer in the third inning. Lopez lined a leadoff single into center field to put himself aboard for Benintendi’s 16th home run of the season.

McKenzie allowed career highs in hits (nine) and runs allowed (seven), and he tied his career high for home runs allowed with three. He’d entered the day having held the Royals to five runs in his first 32 2/3 innings against the Royals.

In the fourth after Michael A. Taylor walked, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout, Dozier lined an opposite field single to bring in Taylor and give the Royals a 5-0 advantage.

Perez’s historic blast came in the fifth inning with Lopez on base to make the Royals lead 7-0. Perez also moved into sole possession of second place on the franchise’s all-time home run leaderboard, breaking a tie with Mike Sweeney. Perez now has 198 career home runs.

The Indians only runs of the game came in the fifth on a two-out, two-run single by Jose Ramirez into center field.

Roster moves

Prior to Monday’s doubleheader, the Royals optioned relief pitchers Scott Blewett and Tyler Zuber. They used the roster space to reinstate Game 1 starter Brady Singer, and they also selected the contract of relief pitcher Dylan Coleman.

A native of Potosi, Missouri, Coleman came to the Royals last fall as the player to be named later from the San Diego Padres in the trade that sent reliever Trevor Rosenthal to the Padres.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound former Missouri State standout had posted a 3.28 ERA with seven saves, 93 strikeouts, 22 walks, a 1.04 WHIP and a .186 opponent’s batting average in 57 2/3 innings in the minors this season.

The Royals also moved pitchers Brad Keller and Wade Davis to the 60-day IL. They also added outfielder Edward Olivares to the active roster as the 29th man allowed for a doubleheader.

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