Red-hot Kansas City Royals have won 5 of 6. Here’s how they beat Cleveland on Monday

The Kansas City Royals were on the verge of another loss. The Royals trailed by two runs and hadn’t quite figured out the Guardians’ pitching staff.

Things changed in the eighth inning.

The Royals scored four runs and prevailed with a 6-4 victory over the Guardians on Monday. Royals outfielder Drew Waters, who provided the lone RBI in KC’s loss on Sunday, hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the frame.

“That eighth inning, we stayed together and we believed we can score some runs,” Royals outfielder Nelson Velázquez said. “We (did) our best to get on base and give the chance to the next batter to do the work. Thank God, we scored a couple of runs and got the lead.”

KC improved to 49-102 and won its fourth game against the Guardians this season. Notably, KC has won five of six as it attempts to avoid setting a new club record for losses in a season.

The Royals took advantage of a leaky Guardians bullpen. They scored all four late runs against Guardians reliever Trevor Stephan. He was charged with Waters’ double and also issued a bases-loaded walk to Royals second baseman Michael Massey.

“I wasn’t looking to try to hit a home run,” Waters said. “I was just trying to have a competitive at-bat and make something out of it. It ended up going in my favor, and obviously, glad it did.”

Stephan fell to 6-7. The Royals turned to reliever James McArthur to pitch the ninth inning, and he picked up his first MLB save. Since Sept. 1, McArthur has pitched 9 2/3 scoreless innings and retired 28 of his last 29 batters faced.

Kansas City Royals relief pitcher James McArthur (66) celebrates with catcher Logan Porter (88) after defeating the Cleveland Guardians at Kauffman Stadium on Sept. 18, 2023.
Kansas City Royals relief pitcher James McArthur (66) celebrates with catcher Logan Porter (88) after defeating the Cleveland Guardians at Kauffman Stadium on Sept. 18, 2023.

“It’s been a good week, I guess,” McArthur said. “It’s been really fun just kind of sticking to the basics out there and trusting my pitches. Trust the game plan going in and get after guys.”

The Guardians scored early against Royals starter Brady Singer. He allowed four runs but picked up a no decision. Royals pitcher Jackson Kowar earned his second victory.

KC will look to win the series on Tuesday night.

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Here are more notables from Monday’s game:

Brady Singer allows four runs in start

Singer looked to rebound after allowing 12 earned runs in his last two starts. On Monday, he faced a familiar opponent in the Guardians.

In 11 career games, Singer had posted a 4.88 ERA against the Guardians. Those numbers bore true in his start.

Singer allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings pitched. He surrendered a solo home run to Arias in the fourth inning. Arias also added a sacrifice fly in the victory.

“I was able to get through six there and hand it off to the bullpen,” Singer said. “They did a tremendous job and the offense came through at the end there.”

Cleveland got to Singer early. In the second inning, the Guardians scored two runs to take a quick lead. Guardians catcher Bo Naylor hit an RBI double and center fielder Myles Straw added another run.

Singer threw 48 of 77 pitches for strikes. He generated 11 called strikes and five whiffs in the game.

“It was a really good team win, and I’m really excited for the guys,” Singer said.

Nelson Velázquez blasts 14th home run

The Royals’ offense struggled to find traction against Cal Quantrill. However, KC broke through with a pair of runs in the fourth and sixth inning.

Velázquez tagged Quantrill with a mammoth home run. He drilled an 87.2-mph splitter over the left-field wall. The solo homer traveled 425 feet and registered a 34 degree launch angle.

“Honestly, in that at-bat, I was looking for a splitter,” Velázquez said. “The first at-bat, he was throwing me a lot of splitters and breaking balls. I had to sit on the splitter because he wasn’t showing me any fastballs.”

Velázquez has hit 11 home runs since the Royals acquired him at the trade deadline. Ten of the 11 homers have come at Kauffman Stadium.

And they have gone a long distance.

Velázquez has eight home runs that have traveled at least 400 feet. His longest home run came Aug. 12 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Velázquez drilled a 441-foot homer off Cardinals starter Steven Matz.

“This is one of the biggest parks in the league,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “Power is power. It will play wherever.”

What’s next: The Royals continue their three-game series against the Guardians. Steven Cruz will start in an opener role. Alec Marsh will work as the bulk reliever.