MINNEAPOLIS — Royals left-hander Danny Duffy was back on his “A” game Monday night.
After getting roughed up for six runs over six innings in his last outing, Duffy came back and fired six scoreless innings against the Twins, continuing his personal upsurge that started in late May.
Yet it wasn’t enough, as the Royals’ bullpen gave up two runs in the seventh and the Twins held on for a 3-1 victory at Target Field. The Royals now have lost 10 straight and 28 of 32.
“I thought [that last start was a blip],” Duffy said. “I think I’ve figured out quite a bit over the last two starts.”
Lefty reliever Tim Hill gave up a double to Bobby Wilson, who was hitting .131, to lead off the seventh, and a single by Joe Mauer pushed Wilson to third. An infield groundout by Eddie Rosario brought home the tying run, and Eduardo Escobar later singled home another run off Kevin McCarthy.
Brandon Maurer gave up another run in the eighth.
Duffy, though, was sharp from the get-go, striking out the side in the first. Mixing his four-seam fastball with an impressive curveball, Duffy struck out nine. He walked two and gave up six harmless singles.
“We’re starting to figure out how to get that [curveball] down when we need to,” Duffy said. “It’s great that Salvy [Salvador Perez] has so much confidence now in calling it. He called a hell of a game. I’m really enjoying throwing my curveball these days because I’m not losing it up like I used to. Just stay in the lane.”
Since May 24, Duffy has dialed up six outings in which he went at least six innings and gave up one or zero runs. His ERA dropped to 4.89, its lowest since April 17.
“Pretty much simple approach tonight,” Duffy said. “When I fell behind, I just put the ball down and away. That may not be our game plan going forward, but we were able to get out of some stuff with our fastball.”
The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the third when Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar delivered back-to-back doubles. But the offense, as has been the case since the beginning of June, did virtually nothing thereafter, finishing the night with just seven hits.