May 17: Orioles (22-19) 0, Royals (21-21) 1
A first-inning run knocked in by Billy Butler was all the Kansas City Royals would need against the Baltimore Orioles as starter Danny Duffy stifled the O’s in his seven scoreless frames. Duffy allowed just two hits and won the duel with Bud Norris.
Duffy had things going from the very start as he had a perfect game entering the top of the seventh. He mixed up his pitches and used both sides of the plate effectively to keep the Baltimore bats at bay.
Adam Jones’ two-out single in the seventh broke up Duffy’s chance at history when his ground ball reached the center-field grass. Duffy got out of the inning unscathed and took the hill in the eighth. A lead-off single to Nelson Cruz knocked him out of the game at 97 pitches. Reliever Wade Davis was able to wiggle out of the inning to secure the one-run lead entering the final frame of play.
Things were not so easy for closer Greg Holland in the ninth. That saying, “The last three outs are the hardest” proved accurate, as Baltimore looked more attentive and patient than in the previous eight innings. Holland didn’t exactly help his case as he walked two hitters on nine total pitches. After a one-out walk to Nick Markakis, Holland allowed the Orioles’ third hit of the game to Manny Machado – a single to right field, allowing Markakis to advance to third as the tying run with just one down.
Holland bent but did not break in the waning moments of the game. He struck out Jones for the second out and then walked slugger Chris Davis to load the bases. With the potential winning run now in scoring position, Holland was able to strike out Cruz swinging on four pitches to end the threat and the game.
Following the up-and-down inning, Holland secured Duffy’s second win of the year, the Royals’ 1-0 shutout and his 11th save of the season.
Norris, completing a stellar 7.1 innings in his own right, fell to 2-4 on the season as he allowed just the first-inning run and four hits in the loss.