Kansas City Royals clinch another series victory in Duffy’s return

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 4: Starter Danny Duffy
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 4: Starter Danny Duffy /

Everyone should enjoy some Duff on Fourth of July. Kansas City Royals fans got a great return from Danny Duffy on Independence Day to topple the Mariners.

Danny Duffy vs. Felix Hernandez may not have been one for the ages, but it served to remind everyone that Duffy should bounce back reasonably well from his injury and King Felix is mortal after all.

At least that was my takeaway after the Kansas City Royals easily dispatched the Mariners in a 7-3 contest Tuesday evening. The victory gives the Royals the series win in seven of their last eight series.

Debate the merits of “Whit Merrifield, lead-off hitter” all you want, but Whitley’s lone hit in five trips set a nice tone on Tuesday afternoon. The pride of Florence, South Carolina caught Hernandez’s first offering of the game flush and poked it over the 376 sign in left center to get the good guys off on the right foot.

The early lead was short-lived as the hosts gave Duffy a rude welcome back to the big time. Jean Segura and Danny Valencia led off the Mariners evening with back-to-back singles, moved to second on a Robinson Cano ground out and scored on Nelson Cruz’s single. 2-1, bad guys.

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After six outs, this one had the makings of a slugfest. The offense would remain slightly on the uptick for one team.

Fortunately, that would be the Kansas City Royals.

In the fourth, Mike Moustakas hit another home run. It was just as satisfying and awe-inducing as the previous 23 were. Brandon Moss also scored after Alex Gordon reached on a Cano error. That was less satisfying but the run counted all the same.

Salvador Perez broke the game open in the fifth. With Jorge Bonifacio and Eric Hosmer on via walk, Salvy lined a double into the corner to score both and stake Duffy to a lead he would never relinquish.

I know this because the Duffman tossed 5.2 innings in his return to the big club. It was an outing that saw him scatter five hits and two earned runs for his season’s fifth win. He soundly outdueled Hernandez (6.0 innings, six hits, five earned) along the way.

Segura singled home Carlos Ruiz for Seattle’s final score in the seventh, while Bonifacio scored on a Yovani Gallardo wild pitch in the ninth for the Kansas City Royals last run of the night.

Next: The importance of Moose in the Derby

Jason Vargas and Ariel Miranda do battle in the series finale, 9:10 p.m. (CT), Wednesday. Dr. Vargas looks to add to his league-leading win total.