Many predicted this would be a very well pitched game and it was - for one team. Danny Duffy pitched very well and only really made one mistake pitch that cost him. Jose Quintana, on the other hand, gave up six runs in only four innings of work, one of his worst starts this year.
The Royals looked completely at ease against Quintana early; Whit Merrifield led off with a single and then was caught stealing before Paulo Orlando lined a double over Melky Cabrera. Eric Hosmer grounded out, but Kendrys Morales shot a ground ball through the middle to drive in their first run.
Alex Gordon led off the bottom of the second with a home run and then it was off to the races. Alcides Escobar singled, Cheslor Cuthbert popped out, Hunter Dozier walked, then Whit Merrifield singled in another run, Orlando walked to load the bases for Hosmer who - surprise, surprise - hit a chopper to the second baseman. This is where things got a little complicated. The throw by Carlos Sanchez pulled Tim Anderson off the bag and his throw to first was too slow, even though Hosmer did his trademark dive into the base. Orlando was initially ruled out, but after review was declared safe. Robin Ventura argued that Orlando broke the slide rule, but it would seem that either his lack of contact with the fielder or the fact that Anderson didn't even get the first out made that moot. The challenge ended up not mattering because Kendrys Morales grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The White Sox finally got on the board in the fifth inning; Todd Frazier followed a walk to Cabrera by dropping a home run a few rows back in left center.
The Royals responded in the bottom of the inning. Paulo Orlando hit another one-out double and this time Hosmer hit a line drive to left field; Paulo had to freeze in case Tim Anderson made the catch, but when the ball got through Paulo advanced and then was sent home anyway and scored even though the throw appeared to beat him. Then Morales, batting right handed against the lefty Quintana, lined a double into right center to score Hosmer giving the Royals back their four-run lead.
The Royals weren’t done scoring, either. In the bottom of the sixth facing reliever Chris Beck, who came on in the fifth inning, Orlando reached base for the fourth time when he was hit on the elbow guard. He advanced to second on a ground ball from Hosmer and then Morales go a hold of another ball and deposited it on to the walkway in front of the fountains in right-center. That was also Morales’ one-thousandth hit of his career.
For the second straight game Duffy pitched with a lead into the eighth inning and then gave way to the bullpen. There were a couple key differences, this time - the lead he left with was much bigger and the bullpen didn’t blow it for him. Kevin McCarthy did allow one of his inherited runners to score, meaning Danny allowed all three runs on the day, but escaped further damage.
Billy Burns, who had appeared as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning, led off the eighth inning by being hit with a pitch. Whit lined his third hit down the left-field line for an RBI double then advanced to third on a high bouncer to Frazier from Orlando. That proved to be worthwhile when Hosmer hit another ground ball to Sanchez to score Merrifield.
Peter Moylan pitched into trouble in the ninth but got a double play to end the game.
In a season that certainly has all the appearances of finishing the same way 2013 did, Duffy’s emergence as a staff leader has certainly been a pleasant surprise. Hopefully he and the ultimately, surprisingly solid Ian Kennedy will be joined by some other sturdy staff mates next season.