Danny Duffy retired the first twenty O’s hitters he faced on Saturday night before Adam Jones ruined everything when he selfishly hit a single with two out in the seventh inning and spoiled what could have been a perfect night.
Duffy still ended up turning in a crisp, efficient performance – the first time in 118 professional starts he’d ever pitched as far as the eighth inning, a promising sign for the future. His fastball appeared to have a little less velocity than normal, but he pounded the strike zone (65-97) and relied on his good defense. He ended up allowing two hits, no walks, and two strikeouts in seven+ innings, before being relieved by Wade Davis who turned in another stellar set-up performance of his own.
Alex Gordon made a standout diving catch to keep the perfect game alive on the first batter in the seventh inning, before Jones committed his evil deed.
O’s starter Bud Norris pitched a gem, too, allowing four hits and a walk in 7 and 1/3 innings. The only blemish came in the first inning in typical Royals fashion, when Nori Aoki led off with an infield single, stole second, then scored on a Billy Butler ground ball single up the middle. And that was it.
Greg Holland provided some more drama in the ninth, when he loaded the bases with two walks around a single. He ultimately struck out the side, in vintage Greg Holland style. I love it when he raises opponent’s hopes, only to smash them into the dirt along with one of his filthy splitters. I know he can be had, just like anybody else. But I honestly wasn’t worried. It always just feels like he’s going to get the job done, no matter the circumstances.
The Royals offense is horrible right now. They’re very fortunate to be at .500. Let’s hope they start their ascent tomorrow afternoon as they go for a split of the four game series with the Orioles.