The Kansas City Royals have had a disappointing to start to the season, but picked up a victory Monday night that should please the entire fanbase for the next 24 hours, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0 at Busch Stadium.
Danny Duffy led the way with a strong pitching performance, tossing six scoreless frames. The southpaw only allowed one hit, issuing one walk while striking out five. Duffy recovered his velocity after his issues with a "dead arm" last time out, and more importantly located his fastball very well. He was also surprisingly efficient with his pitches, only needing 85 to record 18 outs. Overall, it was an impressive display from the talented yet starter, one we hope to see more often as the season continues.
Cardinals starter Shelby Miller matched Duffy for six innings, only allowing two hits until the top of the seventh. The Royals broke through against Miller in the seventh inning thanks to an Alex Gordon solo homer. Gordon jumped on a 2-0 fastball from Miller, turning on the pitch and blasting it to deep right-center field for his fifth home run of the year.
Gordon's homer, somehow, did not kill the rally. Salvador Perez followed with a single, followed by a Lorenzo Cain single. A wild pitch by Miller put runners on second and third with nobody out, and Mike Moustakas delivered with a big hit, cracking a two-run double to centerfield, his first hit since returning from Omaha.
The Royals added three more against the Cardinals in the eighth. Omar Infante led off the inning with a single, then Gordon worked a one-out walk against Randy Choate. Perez followed with a single up the middle against Jason Motte, which was badly misplayed by Randal Grichuk. The error allowed Infante and Gordon to cross home plate, and Perez later scored on a Cain sacrifice fly.
Kansas City finished the game with nine hits, although they had as many infield hits as extra-base hits (2). It was still nice to see some of the hits come in bunches, which the team pretty much has to do to score runs.
Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Aaron Crow each worked a scoreless inning of relief, preserving the shutout. Duffy probably could have kept pitching after the sixth, but I'm cool with Ned Yost pulling him him when he did, especially coming off his previous start.
Overall, it was one of the more enjoyable games I've watched this season, especially when you consider the opponent. The Royals will look to take another game at Busch Stadium on Tuesday night, sending James Shields to the mound against Jaime Garcia.