Danny Duffy was dealing early and often in the KC Royals series-salvaging victory against the Yankees Thursday night. Maybe the Yankees are mortal after all.
Would you like to know why Danny Duffy is an ace, even though nobody outside his immediate family and the most die-hard KC Royals fans would say that?
Because at some point Thursday afternoon, Duffy looked at the standings, noticed the KC Royals were at the bottom of the AL Central and had lost their first two against the Yankees and decided he was throwing the team on his back in the finale.
From Duffy’s first pitch Thursday, this was his game. He owned it, and he owned the Yankees. Seven innings of three-hit, 10-strikeout ball will bury even the best offensive teams (which the Yankees are, make no mistake). If my numbers are right, his Gamescore of 79 was the second-best by a Royal this season, behind only Ian Kennedy’s April 16 performance against the Angels.
It would be tough to choose my favorite inning from Duffy. He struck out the side in the first. He needed only seven pitches to get out of the third. Finally, Duffy recovered from an error and a walk by inducing a first-pitch double play ball and a strikeout in the fifth.
All the way down, Danny Duffy was dominant.
The KC Royals batters had their moments as well. The Dangerous Whit Merrifield (name change pending) and Drew Butera drove in Eric Hosmer and Jorger Soler on back-to-back singles in the second. Considering Duffy’s dominance, that was as commanding a lead as spotting a mere mortal like Cole Hamels with 10 runs.
Three innings later, Moustakas made up for his error in the top of the fifth by blasting an opposite-field shot, his season’s 10th, to score Butera and Alcides Escobar (hitting .184 and 0-for-3 on the night; #EskyMagic is just as real as the Easter Bunny or partisan politics) and cap the KC Royals scoring efforts for the night.
Although the Royals would muster just five hits on the evening, that was more than enough against a Yankees squad that kept putting men on but not bringing them across. The Bronx Bombers put men in scoring position in the fourth, fifth and eighth innings—first against Duffy, then Mike Minor—but couldn’t scratch a run until the ninth.
Replacing Minor, Kelvin Herrera uncharacteristically allowed a leadoff double to Starlin Castro and a single from Aaron Judge, with Castro scoring on a Didi Gregorious single. Herrera settled down, struck out Aaron Hicks and got Brett Gardner to line out to wrap up the contest, allowing the KC Royals to salvage a victory.
Fresh off the best two starts of his career, Nate Karns opens up the first of a 10-game, three-city road trip in Minnesota against Hector Santiago and the Twins. A 7:10 p.m. (CT) first pitch awaits on FSKC, so we’ll all be thankful to have Rex and Ryan back in our lives.