When Danny Duffy walked off the mound two weeks ago after throwing one pitch in a start at Yankee Stadium, many speculators thought the Royals lost their breakout star to something long-term.
But speculation only counts for so much. And Kansas City fans had the pleasure of watching their young lefty get back on the mound Monday night and pitch his team to a 2-0 win at Progressive Field.
After the Royals and Indians finished a suspended game from earlier this month (a game that Cleveland won after leading by two in the 10th inning), Duffy took the hill with all eyes on how his left arm would respond after forcing him out of his last start. If six innings worth of shutout baseball was any indication, it looks like Duffy will be just fine. The 25-year-old struck out five and gave up only six hits. He threw a full workload of 96 pitches.
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Not much hitting
The Royals didn't give their starting pitcher a whole lot of runs to work with, but they provided him more than he needed. Eric Hosmer singled in Nori Aoki in the first inning. And then Alcides Escobar drove in a run with an infield base hit in the fifth. Both runs came against Cleveland starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, who held tough for 7.1 innings. Carrasco struck out nine on the evening and lowered his ERA to 2.64 on the season.
With a lead and their starting pitcher's day coming to an end, the Royals did what they've done all season. Ned Yost turned to his bullpen in the seventh to start counting down the outs. Brandon Finnegan - the team's first round draft choice just a couple months ago - threw a scoreless seventh for his first hold of the season.
Wade Davis and Greg Holland followed it up from there to no-hit Cleveland for the eighth and ninth innings. The save was Holland's 45th of the year.
Postseason baseball a possibility
The win coupled with a Detroit loss brings Kansas City to back within a game of the Tigers and keeps them a game behind Oakland for the top spot in the AL Wildcard. The Royals play two more in Cleveland before wrapping up the season in Chicago for a four-game set with the White Sox.