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Sixth inning dooms Royals as they fall to Texas, 6-2

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Duffy looked sharp until he didn’t.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Claiming a series or split has been hard to come by for Kansas City since their sweep of Cleveland on April 14th. 13 series later, the Royals still haven’t found a way to take a rubber match in any of the deciding games. Heading into Friday night on the heels of 4-2 victory the evening before, Kansas City had the odds in their favor with left-handed Danny Duffy on the bump. Despite being on cruise control through the first five innings, a six-run bottom of the sixth sabotaged a great start and potential Royals victory. Unable to answer, Kansas City dropped the second of four games against the Rangers, 6-2.

Beginning his outing with a respectable 3.12 earned run average, Duffy continued his efficiency through the early stages in this one. Shutting down the Rangers in order in the bottom of the first, recently called up infielder Cheslor Cuthbert opened the scoring in the top of the second. Flicking a 1-2 pitch just over the wall in right-center, the third baseman gave Duffy and the club a brief 1-0 lead. Failing to cash in during the next inning after Whit Merrifield led off with his seventh triple of the season, the Royals starter was asked to work with a slim margin of error. However, even as tight as the game continued to be, Duffy mowed through the Texas lineup until the sixth inning.

Walking to the plate in the bottom half of the sixth and facing a two-run deficit, the Rangers hitters suddenly found a spark. Mustering just two hits before the inning, Texas broke through on an RBI-single by Elvis Andrus to cut the lead in half. Spinning out of control, Duffy walked in the tying run a few batters later and had just one out to show for all the mayhem. After walks and weak singles ruled the inning, the next at-bat put all the soft contact to rest. Known for his Goliath-like strength, 6’5 outfielder Joey Gallo pounded a 2-1 fastball 457 feet from home plate to give the Rangers the lead on a go-ahead grand slam.

The mammoth shot ended Duffy’s night and spoiled what looked to be his best start since his 16 strikeout performance against the Rays back in 2016. As both sides settled down offensively, Texas managed to stifle any comeback opportunities the Royals tried to surmount through innings 7-9. Dropping the second game of the series, Kansas City will turn to Homer Bailey to at worst leave the Lone Star state with a split. The Rangers will send out Lance Lynn who the Royals saw in Kansas City back on May 16th. First pitch is set for 3:05 CT