Danny Duffy fired his first career complete game in propelling the Royals to a 2-1 victory over the White Sox in the rubber game on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Duffy struck out six and didn't issue a walk, giving up a lone run in the second with Tim Anderson, Carlos Sanchez and Jason Coats knocking out consecutive singles with two out. Coats picked up his first career RBI. The Royals won for the ninth straight time with Duffy starting, as the southpaw last pitched in a loss on June 22. The White Sox dropped to 1-7-1 in series action since the All-Star break.
"I'm stoked," Duffy said. "I've gotten pretty close a couple times this year. ... This was cool. This was a cool milestone."
The Royals are now 14-3 overall in Duffy's starts this season.
"I'm just really proud of him," manager Ned Yost said. "You know, he's worked very, very hard and he's thought really, really hard on how to become better, and he's sure done it. ... The way Danny has matured and developed as a Major League pitcher has been really, really fun to watch."
The White Sox were forced to work bullpen by committee when starter Miguel Gonzalezexited in the second with a right groin strain. Michael Ynoa threw three hitless innings, but the Royals got to Carson Fulmer for two runs in the sixth on Cheslor Cuthbert's triple andEric Hosmer's opposite-field single. The Royals also benefited from an overturned call that ruled Jarrod Dyson safe on a stolen base attempt after he was originally called out at second following a leadoff walk in the sixth.
Tommy Kahnle finished off the White Sox relief work by striking out the side in the eighth.
"They did a great job. They knew they had a long way to go tonight," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of his bullpen. "Michael did a nice job, spur of the moment, so did Carson."
The loss dropped the White Sox to a season-worst six games under .500 and 11 games behind the first-place Indians in the American League Central.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Gonzalez exits early: Gonzalez threw one scoreless inning, striking out Dyson and Paulo Orlando, and actually worked a full count to Salvador Perez leading off the second. But after Perez fouled off a pitch, White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and Ventura came to the mound. Gonzalez departed with a right groin strain, which he said will send him to the 15-day disabled list. Gonzalez felt something on a cutter thrown to Perez to open the at-bat. More >
"After that, I didn't have anything to push off with," Gonzalez said. "No strength."
"He knew it was enough to take him out," Ventura said. "He pulled it pretty good."
Cheslor Clutch-bert: For the second straight game, the Royals rookie third baseman proved to be a thorn for the White Sox with a timely hit. In the sixth inning with the Royals trailing, 1-0, he smacked the first pitch he saw to center for a triple to score Dyson. Cuthbert scored on Hosmer's single to give the Royals a 2-1 lead. More >
"I just [try] not to put a lot of pressure on myself. ... I just try to relax," Cuthbert said. "I just go up aggressive, looking for a good pitch."
And for Duffy, those runs provided the lift he needed to finish out the game.
"Once we scored those two runs … I kind of felt another gear," Duffy said. "I wanted to protect the lead that my team just gave me more than just keeping them off the board. I just really wanted to do my part."
Near-miss:Todd Frazier had a 3-0 count against Duffy in the ninth inning, and received the green light as the potential tying run with one out. Frazier looked as if he just missed the 3-0 pitch, lofting a high fly ball to left for out No. 2.
"I got a fastball where I wanted it. I got underneath it," Frazier said. "The old saying just missed it, but I just didn't miss it. He made a good pitch and I should have made a better swing. He had me all day.
"Just one of those games where he had me not necessarily guessing, but he's throwing one pitch somewhere I wasn't looking for it. You know, he's been having a heck of a year. But at the same time, as a hitter, you have to come through in one of those times."
"You just knew he was going to give you depth," Yost said. "We were going to go as far as we could with Danny."
Duffy said that saving the bullpen was something on his mind, but that it wasn't any different than any other game. He said he knows he's relied on the 'pen to pick him up when he's had a shorter outing, and this was about returning the favor.
"That's always the goal, to try and eliminate having to use any of the boys out there," Duffy said. "That's what I set out to do every time. I expect that."
QUOTABLES "We've all been through this whole entire path together. What everybody appreciates about Danny is he goes out and gives his all every single start. As a defender, as a guy playing behind him, it motivates you to go out there and get him a win. It's really cool to see how he's been throwing lately." -- Hosmer, on Duffy
"I felt really good. I wasn't concerned about anything. Just that second inning, that first pitch got me. I felt that pinch, that pull, and I knew I wasn't going to be able to go more." --Gonzalez
ON THE MOVE Dyson moved into a tie for sixth on the Royals' all-time stolen base list with Carlos Beltran at 164.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: Left-hander Carlos Rodon (2-8, 4.49 ERA) will start on Friday at 6:10 p.m. CT as the White Sox continue their three-team, nine-game road trip in the opener at Marlins Park. Rodon was impressive in his last start, giving up just one earned run in six innings in a 4-2 win over the Orioles, and hitting 100 mph with his fastball in the first inning.
Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura (7-9, 4.64) will get the ball on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT for the opener of a three-game series against the Twins at Target Field. Ventura hasn't allowed more than three runs in an outing since July 3 and is 1-0 in two August starts with a 2.31 ERA.