Difo leads Pirates over Royals 2-1, back over .500 at 12-11

PITTSBURGH — Pinch-hitter Wilmer Difo delivered the go-ahead single in the seventh inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat Kansas City 2-1 on Tuesday night to end the Royals’ five-game winning streak.

Pittsburgh (12-11) has won three straight games and 11 of of 16 since a 1-6 start, moving back above .500 for the first time since it was 1-0 in the opening week.

Kansas City has lost seven straight games in Pittsburgh since 2009. The Royals arrived from Detroit following their first four-game road series sweep since 1999.

Jacob Stallings singled off Jakob Junis (1-1) leading off the seventh and took third on Kevin Newman’s one-out single with a hit-and-run on.

Difo, a switch-hitter, batted for pitcher Duane Underwood Jr., and right-hander Scott Barlow relieved. Difo looped a single that dropped in front of a sliding Michael A. Taylor in center, just 227 feet from home plate.

Underwood (1-0) won in his second big league decision, his first since last Aug. 17 for the Chicago Cubs against St. Louis.

Pirates starter Tyler Anderson allowed one run and three hits in six innings while striking out five and walking two.

Junis gave up two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings with nine strikeouts and one walk.

Underwood, Sam Howard and Richard Rodríguez combined for three innings of scoreless, one-hit relief. Rodríguez retired the side in order on nine pitches for his fourth save in as many opportunities.

Colin Moran had an RBI single in the first inning, the start of a three-hit game.

Carlos Santana had two of the Royals’ four hits, and neither left the infield. His singled tied the score in the third.

ROSTER MOVES

Royals: INF Ryan McBroom was recalled from the alternate training site to provide an extra bat for the bench with the designated hitter rule not in effect in an NL ballpark. RHP Jake Newberry was optioned to the alternate site. ... RHP Mike Shawayrn, who pitched in 14 games for Boston in 2019, was signed to a minor league contract.

Pirates: OF Ka’ai Tom joined the team. He was claimed from Oakland on waivers last week. After being picked from Cleveland in the winter meeting draft of unprotected players, Tom made his major league debut with the Athletics on April 1 and went 1 for 16 (.063) in nine games. INF Rodolfo Castro was optioned to the alternate site.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: C Salvador Pérez was in the lineup a day after being taken out of the game after the top of the sixth inning with a strained right thumb. He was injured while tagging Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera out on a play at home plate in the third inning.

UP NEXT

Royals LHP Mike Minor (2-1, 4.64 ERA) is scheduled to pitch against RHP Mitch Keller (1-2, 7.16) on Wednesday night in the finale of the two-game series. Minor is coming off his best start of the season in which he gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings to beat the Tigers while striking out nine. Keller had a no-decision against Detroit in his last outing, allowing two runs -– both on solo homers –- in five innings.