They say it’s not about how you start, but how you finish.
Well, a hot start still never hurts.
Thanks to six scoreless innings from Danny Duffy, the Kansas City Royals did just enough on offense to beat the Cleveland Indians 3-0 on Monday.
Duffy’s pitching performance is by far the best by a Royal this season, as Brad Keller, Mike Minor, and Brady Singer had given up 16 runs in just over 10 combined. Meanwhile, Duffy, who manager Mike Matheny expressed confidence in multiple times heading into the season, struck out five batters and only allowed two hits in six innings.
Offensively, while the Royals only produced three runs, they had no issue getting on base.
In the top of the second inning, Nicky Lopez singled and, with Whit Merrifield up, Indians pitcher Logan Allen fell behind 3-0 in the count. Merrifield decided to end the at-bat on the following pitch, sending a two home run deep into left field to give Kansas City a 2-0 lead.
Merrifield was also responsible for the Royals’ only other run in the game, hitting a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh inning to score Ryan McBroom. Despite that, the Royals left 10 men on base on the afternoon.
But thanks to solid pitching a defense throughout the game, it remained 3-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth, and Jesse Hahn was able to get out of a late-rally attempt by Cleveland as the Royals improve to 3-1 on the season and remain in first place in the AL Central.
After an off day on Tuesday, the two rivals will face off again on Wednesday.