The Royals’ pattern to success this year, at least in the early season, is obvious: give the ball to Danny Duffy or Jason Vargas.
After allowing an early run, Duffy settled in to deliver his third quality start in as many chance this season, and the Royals beat the Angels 7-1. What is perhaps more noteworthy is that the offense showed up for its highest scoring output of the season thus far, putting up seven runs to put things out of reach early.
Three batters into the game, the Angels took the lead on an RBI single by Mike Trout. However, Kole Calhoun was thrown out trying to go first-to-third on Lorenzo Cain, which turned the inning around. Duffy was able to retire the next two batters, and that was about the only trouble he faced all evening.
In the bottom half of the first, Alex Gordon singled and Mike Moustakas smashed a two-run bomb to center field. The Royals wouldn’t trail again. Moustakas’ fourth of the year also was his 22nd in his last 75 games (via Rany Jazayerli on Twitter). He is a power-hitter, and there’s no doubt about it.
The Royals would put up runs in each of the first three innings. In the second, Paulo Orlando scored when Angels starter JC Ramirez uncorked a wild pitch. And in the third, Moustakas walked and Cain doubled to set up Eric Hosmer, who drove in the former with a groundout. Salvador Perez then hit a sacrifice fly to score Cain. 5-1, Royals.
While his offense was consistently scoring runs, Duffy was making quick work of the Angels. He ended his outing by firing off six straight scoreless frames. His final line: 7.0 innings, three hits, one run, two walks, and six strikeouts. He needed 103 pitches, earning the win to improve to 2-0.
Through three starts, Duffy has allowed just four runs in 20 innings for a nifty ERA of 1.80.
In the sixth, Salvador Perez cranked a Sonic Slam homer onto the Royals Hall of Fame steps in left field. It was his fifth of the year, tying him for the AL lead. Somehow, all five of those bombs have been solo shots.
The Royals added their seventh run when Cain scored on a double play by Perez in the eighth.
Heck, even Brandon Moss got a hit tonight! An eighth-inning single makes him 2-for-26 on the year. That 10-for-15 stretch is right around the corner.
The Angels offense did nothing. Yunel Escobar, Mike Trout, Martin Maldonado, and Albert Pujols hit singles. That was the extent of their offensive night.
Peter Moylan took care of the eighth and ninth innings to nail down the victory. He loaded the bases with two outs before getting out of it without damage. He has been the team’s best reliever thus far. Raise your hand if you saw that coming.
The Royals are 4-6. They’ll look to continue their streak tomorrow against the Angels at 6:15 pm CDT. The pitching matchup is Nathan Karns vs. Matt Shoemaker. First 20,000 fans get a free tote bag at the game!