Duffy’s sterling performance wasted by the Kansas City Royals
To call Saturday night’s contest between the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers a pitcher’s duel doesn’t do justice to how well Danny Duffy and Cole Hamels pitched.
It was a shame anyone had to lose. And obviously, it was more of a shame that it was Duffy and the Kansas City Royals, who fell 1-0 to the Rangers to go ahead and drop the series.
The game’s first hit nearly became its first run when Mike Napoli tripled high off the wall in right field—so high, in fact that it very nearly got out of the park. Jeff Banister appealed but the higher authority at Major League Baseball upheld the call on the field.
What should’ve been a problem—a man on third and nobody out—was no trouble at all for Duffy. He induced a Nomar Mazara ground out, a Carlos Gomez fly out and a Rougned Odor pop out to strand Napoli.
The Kansas City Royals best chance came in the third. Alcides Escobar led off with a walk, followed by a Brandon Moss line drive single. Two fly outs—by Alex Gordon and Whit Merrifield—gave the Rangers two quick outs and brought up Jorge Bonifacio. Had a tag been made by Escobar on Gordon’s fly, perhaps the complexion of the game changes.
Bonifacio laced a liner to short, off the glove of Elvis Andrus. Everyone moved up a base. And then Lorenzo Cain grounded out to end the inning and, little did we know at the time, the Kansas City Royals best scoring chance of the evening.
Still, Duffy and Hamels sailed along. In the seventh, Duffy got some help from Alcides Escobar who made a spectacular play on an Andrus grounder. You should check it out below.
You know I don’t speak Spanish.
Duffy’s night was aided again by some solid defending in the eighth inning, when an Odor double play ball to Merrifield snuffed out a one-out Gomez single and ended a Texas threat. Merrifield would double in the bottom of the eighth—the last runner the Kansas City Royals would put in scoring position Saturday night—but be left stranded on Bonifacio’s ground out.
Duffy lost the shutout and ultimately the game in cruel fashion. Jonathan Lucroy led off the top of the ninth with a bloop single into right, then moved to second on a Delino DeShields sac bunt. Then Shin-Soo Choo scored Joey Gallo, who pinch ran for Lucroy, by keeping a pop fly just inside the left field line.
For Duffy, it was 8.1 innings of five-hit, four-strikeout ball… for a loss. Boy does that sting.
Next: An injustice I won't stand for
The Kansas City Royals try to avoid the sweep Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. Standing in their way will be Yu Darvish. This doesn’t bode well for the Royals.