Danny Duffy’s ERA was never going to be 0.39 all year long. We all knew that, even if no one wanted to really admit it. It sure has been fun to watch, though. And so, as we all expected, his ERA went up today.
All the way to 0.60.
Duffy pitched a season-high seven innings and allowed only a single run - a solo homer to Alex Kirilloff, his third of his career and of the series. Duffy struck out seven and even more impressive, allowed a mere two hits. He did walk three, but two of those walks included balls called by the home plate umpire that appeared to be in the strike zone overlay on BSKC. It was just a heck of a game for Duffy.
Matt Shoemaker had a very, very different experience. He couldn’t escape the fourth inning and was ultimately charged with nine runs, eight of which were earned. He walked two and didn’t strike out a single Royal. His ERA vs the Royals in his career was already over 9.00 and it went up.
Salvador Perez started the Royals’ scoring in the first when he followed a Carlos Santana walk with an RBI double into center. Buxton dove for it and missed which allowed the Royals’ two slowest runners to touch three bases. Salvy then scored on a long sacrifice fly by Jorge Soler. The next time Salvy came up he drove in Santana and scored again when he hit a two-run bomb to right-center off of Shoemaker to make the lead a comfortable 4-0 in the third inning but the game blew open in fourth.
Ryan O’Hearn led off the inning by demolishing a pitch just to the right of center for a solo dinger. Whit Merrifield had a three-run double that glanced off of Jorge Polanco’s glove and dribbled into centerfield. He scored on Santana’s grounder to give the Royals a truly commanding 9-0 lead.
The final two runs were solo home runs by Andrew Benintendi against Randy Dobnak in the sixth and eighth innings. He pulled one and then hit the other to the opposite field just for some variety.
Jake Brentz came on in the eighth and closed out the game. He was not able to do so entirely cleanly; he gave up a two-run home run to 40-year-old, Royal-killer Nelson Cruz in the eighth. However, he got the job done and kept anyone else from having to pitch.
The Royals are 1-0 in May and have a chance to win the series and keep the Twins down, tomorrow. Brad Keller (2-2 9.00) will take the mound and try to build on the progress he made in his last start. The Twins will counter with the ace of their staff, Jose Berríos (2-2 3.04 ERA). The Royals will probably need the good Keller if they want to get home on the positive side of the run differential.