Royals

Royals lose to Astros again after Danny Duffy's hiccup in the sixth inning

Danny Duffy looking for way to win after 10-2 loss to Astros

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy wants to focus on finding a way to get team on winning track after 10-2 loss to the Houston Astros on Saturday June 16, 2018.
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Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy wants to focus on finding a way to get team on winning track after 10-2 loss to the Houston Astros on Saturday June 16, 2018.

The Royals’ June swoon continued Saturday as they lost to the Astros 10-2 at Kauffman Stadium.

Royals starter Danny Duffy, who’d begun to rebound from the 6.88 ERA he amassed over his first 10 starts this season, took his first loss since May 19. He hadn’t allowed more than five runs in a game since the Indians shelled him for nine runs on May 13. On Saturday, he allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits in six innings.

Despite falling behind 2-0 in the first inning when Jose Altuve rocketed a two-run double into the left-field wall, Duffy settled. He retired 11 of the next 12 batters and racked up all five of his strikeouts Saturday along the way.

But an error by third baseman Mike Moustakas in the fifth inning allowed the Astros to tack on the final run of a two-run frame and jump ahead 4-0.

The Royals took two of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, but Duffy couldn’t keep the game within reach.

His chance to build on last week’s performance — he held the Athletics scoreless through seven innings while striking out 10 — evaporated in the sixth inning. He walked Yuli Gurriel on five pitches to start the inning, allowed a one-out single to Marwin Gonzalez and was forced to pay on a high-and-away change-up, a pitch the Astros' Max Stassi launched for a three-run homer and a 7-2 Astros lead.

"Up until that change-up, I was pretty pleased with my outing," Duffy said. "I think you look at the line, it’s going to be a little deceiving in this particular instance. But nonetheless, in six innings I gave up seven runs. Obviously not satisfied with it."

The Astros’ advantage was too steep for the Royals, who have batted just .183 (82 for 448) this month, to overcome.

No team has stopped the Astros in 10 games. They haven’t lost since June 5, when starter Dallas Keuchel allowed the Mariners to score seven runs.

"You make a mistake, they're gonna make you pay," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Keuchel, the 2015 American League Cy Young award winner, hadn’t even delivered a sharp performance during the Astros’ 10-game winning streak yet. He’d posted a 9.82 ERA in two June starts.

But he met little resistance in Kansas City on Saturday. He allowed six hits, issued one walk and struck out five in six innings.

The two runs the Royals scored against him were unearned. They capitalized on Carlos Correa’s inability to corral a groundball hit by Drew Butera in the bottom of the frame, reaching base in four straight at-bats and getting RBI hits from Whit Merrifield and Moustakas.

The Royals have lost 12 of 14 games this month, including 11 of the last 12.

"It’s not ideal where we’re at right now," Duffy said. "It’s pretty much the opposite of what we drew up coming into the year. We gotta come out of this stretch ourselves."

Roster move to come: The Royals have a few options on the 40-man roster to take the place of the injured Jorge Soler. Rosell Herrera, claimed off waivers from the Reds at the beginning of June, would give the Royals further flexibility in the outfield. Or they could recall Adalberto Mondesi, give him playing time at second base and allow a combination of Alex Gordon, Abraham Almonte, Paulo Orlando and Merrifield to man the outfield in Soler’s absence.

Manager Ned Yost said before Saturday’s loss that the roster addition could also come from Class AA Northwest Arkansas.

Regardless, the Royals will be forced to make another roster decision in two weeks when outfielder Jorge Bonifacio becomes eligible to be reinstated from the restricted list.

Up next: The Royals, who dropped to 22-48, will close the series at 1:15 p.m. Sunday. The Royals' Brad Keller is scheduled to start opposite Lance McCullers Jr.

Astros 10, Royals 2

Houston

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Springer rf

4

2

1

0

1

1

.287

Bregman 3b

4

2

2

4

0

1

.265

Altuve 2b

3

0

1

2

2

1

.337

Kemp 2b

0

0

0

0

0

0

.316

Correa ss

5

0

0

0

0

0

.270

Gurriel 1b

2

1

0

0

1

1

.299

White 1b

1

0

0

0

0

1

.000

Gattis dh

4

0

0

0

0

2

.245

Gonzalez lf

4

2

3

0

0

0

.257

Stassi c

4

1

2

3

0

1

.264

1-McCann pr-c

0

1

0

0

0

0

.209

Marisnick cf

4

1

1

1

0

1

.173



Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Merrifield rf

3

0

2

1

0

0

.295

Moustakas 3b

4

0

1

1

0

2

.259

Perez dh

4

0

0

0

0

2

.221

Dozier 1b

3

0

0

0

1

3

.232

Gordon lf

3

0

1

0

0

0

.255

Escobar ss

4

0

0

0

0

1

.209

Almonte cf

4

0

0

0

0

1

.186

Butera c

4

1

1

0

0

2

.157

Goins 2b

4

1

1

0

0

1

.233



Houston

200

023

003

10

10

1

Kansas City

000

020

000

2

6

1

1-ran for Stassi in the 9th.

E—Correa (2), Moustakas (5). LOB—Houston 3, Kansas City 7. 2B—Altuve (18), Gonzalez (11), Merrifield (22). HR—Stassi (7), off Duffy; Bregman (10), off Smith. RBIs—Bregman 4 (38), Altuve 2 (37), Stassi 3 (21), Marisnick (15), Merrifield (23), Moustakas (46). SB—Springer (5), Merrifield (15), Moustakas (2). SF—Bregman.

Runners left in scoring position—Houston 1 (Correa); Kansas City 3 (Perez 2, Dozier). RISP—Houston 4 for 8; Kansas City 2 for 4.

Runners moved up—Perez. FIDP—Correa. GIDP—Correa, Gordon.

DP—Houston 1 (Bregman, Correa, Gurriel); Kansas City 2 (Almonte, Moustakas), (Moustakas, Goins, Dozier).

Houston

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Keuchel, W, 4-8

6

6

2

0

1

5

101

4.15

Peacock

1

0

0

0

0

3

16

2.48

Harris

1

0

0

0

0

2

15

4.32

Devenski

1

0

0

0

0

2

17

1.63

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Duffy, L, 3-7

6

7

7

6

3

5

101

5.55

McCarthy

1

0

0

0

0

1

12

3.99

Maurer

1

0

0

0

0

2

11

10.13

Smith

1

3

3

3

1

1

26

7.31

HBP—Peacock (Merrifield), Harris (Gordon). WP—Duffy.

Umpires—Home, Mark Wegner; First, John Tumpane; Second, Mike DiMuro; Third, Jeremie Rehak.

T—2:46. A—20,657 (37,903).

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