After a weekend when only one Royals starter got into the sixth inning and all three combined to give up 16 runs (15 earned), it’s hard to overstate how much Kansas City needed a deep and quality start to open the two-game series in Cleveland on Monday.
That’s exactly what Danny Duffy gave them.
The veteran left-hander delivered six scoreless innings in the Royals’ 3-0 win at Progressive Field on Monday afternoon, allowing just two hits and striking out five on 97 pitches (58 strikes).
Kansas City worked from behind in all three games over Opening Weekend and was able to overcome two deficits on Thursday and Saturday before running out of momentum on Sunday against the Rangers. Starters Brad Keller, Mike Minor and Brady Singer posted a 12.66 ERA over the three games, the highest in the Majors over Opening Weekend. Minor was the only one who got to the sixth inning, but he still allowed four early runs.
Duffy ensured the trend stopped with his season debut, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, with the Royals planning to rely on their relievers for Wednesday’s game after Tuesday’s off-day.
Duffy was also able to pitch with the lead — another first for a Royals starter this season. Whit Merrifield’s two-run shot in the second inning off Cleveland lefty Logan Allen was his third homer in four games. Merrifield’s sacrifice fly in the seventh gave the Royals an insurance run — and brought his RBI total to nine on the season.