It was as much of a pitcher's duel as you could have hoped for. Danny Duffy continued to battle even while not exhibiting quite the same level of the stuff he showed earlier this year. Duffy also got a lot of help from his defense; there were at least half a dozen great plays made behind the lefty to help keep runs off the board.
After blowing through the Twins in the first with two popups on six pitches Danny Duffy decided to toy with his opponents in the second. He loaded the bases on a Trevor Plouffe double, a Jorge Polanco infield single, and a walk to Eduardo Escobar. Then Duffy buckled down and struck out the only lefty in today’s Twins’ starting lineup, Eddie Rosario. That was when Duffy began to see what kind of defense he was working with, today. First a spectacular sliding catch from Alex Gordon in left and then a great play on a tough hop by Cheslor Cuthbert allowed Danny to escape the inning with no damage done.
The Royals started off the bottom of the second with an Eric Hosmer looping liner to left for a single followed by a Kendrys Morales smash ground ball down the left field line combined to put men at second and third with no one out. The hot-but-not-lava-hot Gordon struck out with an ugly swing on a breaking pitch out of the zone, giving us all flash backs of how he’s spent most of the season. Alcides Escobar, fortunately, picked him up by doing the bare minimum; he tapped a weak grounder to Polanco at short to score Hosmer and give the Royals an early lead.
Duffy was less mystic in the third inning. He got Brian Dozier out on a weak grounder to Escobar, but allowed a double to Robbie Grossman. He struck out Miguel Sano but Plouffe tagged him for another double, this time driving in Grossman to tie it up.
When the Royals' weren't making amazing play after amazing play on defense they continued punishing the Twins for not doing so. The game remained tied until the bottom of the sixth, largely because Santana struck out just about everyone he saw, when Lorenzo Cain reached on an booted ball by Polanco that was ruled a single. Eric Hosmer followed that up with a booming double to center which scored Cain and put the Royals back on top for good.
Duffy pitched 6 2/3 innings - that makes 11 straight where he has pitched into the seventh - then gave way to Peter Moylan, then Joakim Soria, and finally Kelvin Herrera - none of whom allowed so much as a base runner - to finish the game.
- wcgrad corrected me in today’s game thread. The eight-game winning streak is the longest since the Sung-Woo Streak in 2014. They’ll need at least one more to be the longest since the ten-gamer from the middle of the same season.
- I see no reason the Royals haven’t won 15 of their last 20.
- Edinson Volquez gave up twice as many runs in his 4 1/3 innings this series as all other Royals' pitchers combined.
- Soria had his eighth consecutive scoreless appearance.
- The bullpen now has 29 consecutive scoreless innings as a unit and has retaken the lead for best bullpen ERA in the AL.
- Alex Gordon lost his hitting streak, but he did make multiple great plays in the outfield that were key to the Royals winning this game.
- Favorite Gamethread comment, from after Duffy’s amazing escape in the second inning:
- Win Expectancy Player of the Game is Danny Duffy with his 29% WPA; Hosmer came close with 27% WPA of his own.
The Royals will try to make it nine in a row when they send Yordano Ventura to the mound to face Andrew Cashner and the Florida Marlins in Miami Tuesday night.