For seven innings, Danny Duffy and Ubaldo Jiménez parried and thrusted, each riposte met with a counter-reposte. When each pitcher’s night had come to an end, a run had been charged to him on his ledger.
The Royals got the scoring going in the top of the first. Lorenzo Cain, batting in the two slot after the weekend acquisition of Melky Cabrera, stroked a one-out double. After a Cabrera strikeout, Eric Hosmer matched Cain’s feat, doubling in Cain. Hosmer was stranded at second as Salvador Pérez popped out to end the inning.
For his part, Duffy cruised through most of the game. He got into trouble in the second. After a lead-off single from Trey Mancini, Cain saved Duffy’s bacon as he brought back a Chris Davis dong with no outs. One out later, Duffman ceded a line-drive single to Joey Rickard and lost Ruben Tejada to a walk before escaping via an induced pop-up of his own care of Craig Gentry.
Alex Gordon doubled leading off the third, but after a Whit Merrifield fly out to center, the duo of Cain and Cabrera failed to bring him in. Gordon was the last Royal to get into scoring position.
The Royals led 1-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth, but the Orioles’ best two position players—Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop—put together a two-out double and a two-out single. That tied the game up at one apiece.
After the fifth, the Orioles didn’t manage another baserunner until the ninth, as Duffy and Peter Moylan shut them down for three frames.
Unfortunately for the Royals, Joakim Soria fired up the boiler on the singles train in the ninth. Soria got Chris Davis to ground out for the first out of the inning. Caleb Joseph followed the groundout with a liner to center that fell in for a hit. Joey Rickard flew out to Cabrera in right, but two outs were all Soria managed. The ignominious duo of Ruben Tejada and Craig Gentry singled back-to-back, and the Orioles walked off winners in game one of the series, winning 2-1.
Joakim Soria took the loss, deservedly so. Zach Britton got the win. Neither starter factored in the decision despite their solid outings. In his no-decision, Duffy struck out six, walked one, and allowed seven hits in seven innings of work with one run scoring against him. Jiménez, who owned a 6.93 ERA heading into tonight that was that high mostly because he’s not very good, completely shut down the Royals. Over his seven frames of work, he struck out six, walked two, and gave up five hits, though he induced three ground-ball double-plays and induced three pop-ups. He, too, allowed one run.
With Cleveland losing in Boston, the Royals’ loss didn’t cost them any ground in the race for the AL Central crown, where they sit just two games back. Unfortunately for Kansas City, the Yankees won and Red Sox won, widening the gap in the scramble for the top wild card spot.