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Freddy Fermin’s 9th-inning bunt gives Kansas City Royals 1st home series win of 2023

Kansas City Royals pitcher Brady Singer reverted to his 2022 form on Thursday afternoon. Singer, who showed his breakout potential with a 3.23 ERA last season, turned in a sterling effort in the Royals’ 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Singer had very little trouble navigating the White Sox lineup. He cruised through six innings of work and allowed one run on five hits. He issued two walks and struck out four batters during the start.

“I felt like the command was pretty good today,” Singer said. “All the pitches were working well and I was able to navigate their lineup a few times.”

It was a welcome sight following his last two outings. He allowed 13 runs in a combined 6 2/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics. It led to a ballooned 8.82 ERA prior to Thursday’s series finale.

Singer wasn’t fazed by much against the White Sox. Despite rainy conditions, he had good command of his off-speed pitches throughout the start. Singer threw a slider or changeup with 74 of his 80 pitches and generated 34 combined swings and seven whiffs.

“He located and he made some big pitches when he really had to,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “He walked (Andrew) Vaughn there in the sixth and came back from 3-1 on (Gavin) Sheets and ended up striking him out. That was a big turning point in the game for us.”

The Royals offense provided just enough to complement Singer’s outing. Royals infielders Michael Massey and Maikel Garcia added run support early. Massey hit his second home run in consecutive games. Meanwhile, Garcia added a two-run double in the fourth inning.

The White Sox clawed back into the game late. In the eighth inning, White Sox outfielder Luis Robert Jr. tied the game with a two-run double off Royals reliever Aroldis Chapman.

Royals catcher Freddy Fermin saved the day in the ninth inning. He laid down a safety squeeze bunt that scored the winning run. Royals infielder Nick Pratto scored from third base to give Kansas City the series victory.

“They put it (called for bunt) and in my mind, I have to do it,” Fermin said. “We got a win.”

Fermin bunt seals victory

Quatraro applauded the effort from the Royals on their game-winning sequence. He said Fermin executed a difficult play, one that made the difference on the scoreboard.

“He’s fouled off a couple sac bunts earlier in the week,” Quatraro said. “He stuck his nose in there and got it done. It’s a really hard play if at all possible to defend. ... To get that bunt down against them is really impressive.”

The Royals celebrated by splashing Fermin with a nice Gatorade shower. He finished 2-for-4 in the game and was all smiles in the clubhouse.

The Royals are now 12-27 on the season. Kansas City now heads on a nine-game road trip after winning four of their last five games.

Missed previous games of the series?

Michael Massey homers in consecutive games

After a 112 at-bat homerless drought, Royals second baseman Michael Massey started a new streak in style on Thursday afternoon. In the second inning, Massey hit his second home run of the season off White Sox starter Mike Clevinger.

Massey drilled a 92.6 mph four-seam fastball off the right-field foul pole. The homer traveled 389-feet and was barreled with a 106.2 mph exit velocity.

It was his second homer in as many days. His first home run came Wednesday night in the Royals’ 9-1 victory and traveled 417 feet. Massey has now hit safely in a career-best seven consecutive games this season.

Bobby Witt Jr. climbs stolen base charts

Speed is a powerful thing in baseball. Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. is known for his sprint speed around the bases. On Thursday, Witt swiped two bags against the Chicago White Sox. He collected his 11th and 12th stolen base to put him among MLB leaders.

“That’s Bobby’s game. He is fearless out there stealing bases,” Quatraro said. “He gets good jumps and good reads and he’s obviously really fast.”

Witt pulled into a fifth-place tie alongside Baltimore Orioles standouts Cedric Mullins and Jorge Mateo and Chicago Cubs infielder Nico Hoerner.

What’s next: The Royals will start a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field.