Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Defense Yet Another Facet as Royals Remain Hot

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Defense Yet Another Facet as Royals Remain Hot

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The dominant form of Danny Duffy was evident for one inning Sunday in Kauffman Stadium.

That was the first, when the three outs Duffy quickly recorded took the left-hander less time than the ceremonial first-pitchers -- Kansas basketball player Frank Mason and Olympic tennis medalist Jack Sock -- who fired away before the start of the Kansas City Royals' 2-1 victory against the Minnesota Twins.

In his first six pitches, Duffy reinforced the last-place helplessness the Twins are feeling as they play out the string. Only that string could have had some resilient bend had it not been for some timely fielding gems by the Royals.

Their eighth win in a row was not as much about their Cy Young hopeful but about their defense.

"There was a lot of traffic (on the bases) out there but I made pitches when I had to," Duffy said. "When you don't have your best stuff, you just battle. That's how I felt today. Get through as many outs as you can and let your defense play behind you and gosh, didn't they? They killed it out there."

Just another characteristic to emphasize the Royals are not dead yet.

They remain a longshot to reach the postseason, though they kept pace with the two teams ahead of them in the Central (Cleveland and Detroit) and continued to make strides in the wild card race. The four-game sweep of the Twins was the fifth straight series the Royals claimed. The eight-game win streak is their longest in more than two years, since Aug. 3-11 in 2014.

In addition to sub-par stuff from Duffy, KC's streaking lineup was slowed after outscoring opponents 47-12 in the previous seven games. Eric Hosmer delivered the game-winning hit, an RBI double, in the sixth.

Defenders and relievers had to perform well for the Royals to prevail.

Both were staples for Kansas City when it captured American League flags the past two years. …

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