Danny Duffy pitched into the ninth inning and allowed six hits, struck out four and walked one while improving to 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in three starts this month. His lone blemish was a lead off home run in the bottom of the ninth to Tyler Saladino. Duffy gave way to Joe Blanton who finished off the 4-1 Royals win over the Chicago White Sox.
The Royals win, combined with Minnesota’s 14-1 blowout loss to the A’s, opens up the lead in the Central Division to six games. Detroit, who came out of the break nine games back, also dropped another game and a half behind the Royals.
Duffy’s performance gave the Royals bullpen a much needed breather after a doubleheader on Friday and extra-inning game on Saturday.
“We needed him to stand up today big time, and he did,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
The Royals are just getting started with a stretch of 18 games in 17 days, before the Royals next day off. The competition ramps up this week, starting Monday with a three game series at home with Pittsburgh. Thursday leads to a road trip across the state for a make-up game with the Cardinals, before coming back home to host Houston.
This week’s schedule will feature teams that are a combined 47 games over .500.