Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/16/13
Danny Duffy provided the clearest evidence yet with a masterful outing Friday afternoon that he just might evolve into the sort of dominant homegrown starting pitcher the Royals have long desired. Duffy worked six scoreless innings in outpitching long-time Royals nemesis Justin Verlander in a 2-1 victory on the first game of a day/night doubleheader at Comerica Park. “He’s handed me four of my losses in my career” Duffy said. “That was in the back of my mind too. It was definitely nice. That was a huge win for us. Now I’m excited to see (James) Shields do his thing this next game.” Shields responded with seven shutout innings as the Royals completed a sweep with a 3-0 victory. It marked the first time since 1984 that the Royals won two games on the same day in Detroit. Just what the Royals needed after losing their three previous games. Duffy’s victory came in his second big-league start since returning from Tommy John surgery to replace a torn elbow ligament. “It was a big bounce-back win in a quick turnaround” said first baseman Eric Hosmer who opened the scoring with a homer in the fourth inning. “We needed an outing like that from Duffy. He did a phenomenal job and handed it off to the bullpen and they sealed the deal like they always do.” Hosmer also opened the scoring in the second game with a two-run homer in the third inning against Tigers starter Jose Alvarez. It was still 2-0 when Alvarez 1-3 exited with two on and two outs in the sixth. Jeremy Bonderman got the final out in the sixth but yielded a leadoff single in the seventh to Chris Getz. Bonderman’s two-base error on a pickoff attempt moved Getz to third and turned into a run when Jamey Carroll sent a sacrifice fly to left. Shields 8-8 turned over that 3-0 lead to Luke Hochevar to start the eighth inning. Shields gave up three hits and struck out just one while walking four in a 106-pitch outing. Hochevar pitched a one-two-three eighth before Greg Holland gained his second save of the day and 34th of the season with a scoreless ninth. The Royals built a 2-0 lead in the opener against Verlander 12-9 on Hosmer’s homer in and successive doubles in the seventh inning by Justin Maxwell and Emilio Bonifacio. After that it was just a matter of whether the bullpen could close out Duffy’s victory. Kelvin Herrera worked a scoreless seventh but Aaron Crow yielded a leadoff homer in the eighth to pinch-hitter Ramon Santiago. Crow retired the next three hitters before Holland pitched around a one-out walk in the ninth inning. “Our pitch-ing!” catcher George Kottaras said. “The whole team made it happen. Duffy started it off by going out there and keeping those guys totally off-balance. “He had some command troubles at times but he always got himself back into the counts. He’s just got great stuff and he kept us in the game the whole time.” Duffy 1-1 didn’t allow a hit until two outs in the sixth inning when Miguel Cabrera smoked a hard grounder to the left side. Bonifacio made a diving attempt from third but merely deflected the ball. A clean single. “I thought I had it the whole time” Bonifacio insisted. “I thought I had a good chance. But when the ball hit in the dirt it kicked up and went off my glove.” Duffy retired Prince Fielder for the final out but having thrown 96 pitches didn’t return for the seventh. Duffy’s final line showed one hit no runs three walks three strikeouts and a hit batter. Yost said Duffy would not have returned for the seventh even if he had a no-hitter in place. “Even if he doesn’t give up a hit in the sixth inning” Yost said “he doesn’t doesn’t have enough pitches to go seven eight and nine. Why send him back out for the seventh? He was at his pitch limit and that was it. “And I had a rested Herrera a rested Crow and a rested Holland. My mind-set coming in was if he could give us five strong innings today we’d be in great shape. He gave us six. So he went above my expectation.”
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