There was no sweep of the Royals in Kansas City thanks to the spectacular performance of Danny Duffy. Two of three on the road ain't too shabby, though. The key takeaways:
No answer for Duffy
Sometimes, you just have to hand it to the opposing pitcher. It's annoying when it's the opposing fifth starter mowing down the offense, but in this case, it was Kansas City's ace dominating the Yankees. In seven innings, the lefty only allowed three hits and two walks while striking out 10 Yankees.
Duffy was perfect through three. He struck out the side in the first, fanned two of three in the second, and whiffed one more in the third. In the fourth, he finally ran into a little bit of trouble. Jacoby Ellsbury reached on a bunt single (originally called an out before replay overturned it) to start the inning and two batters later, Matt Holliday walked with one out to put runners on first and second. It was no sweat for Duffy, who punched out Starlin Castro and induced Aaron Judge to fly out to right.
In the fifth, the first two Yankees reached on an error and a walk. Duffy quickly erased the threat when Aaron Hicks bounced into a double play and Chris Carter went down on strikes. The Royals' lefty also worked around a single a piece in both the sixth and seventh innings. Duffy bent slightly after coasting through the first three frames, but never broke. And really, he barely bent. There weren't many hard hit balls off the Yankees' bats tonight.
Montgomery was meh, Green was good
The old adage is that a leadoff walk always comes around to score, and while that's been pretty much debunked for obvious reasons, it's still not a good thing to do on the mound. Yankees' starter Jordan Montgomery gave Eric Hosmer a free pass to open the second inning, and things didn't get much better from there. He did retire Salvador Perez before allowing another walk, this time to Jorge Bonifacio. There was a chance to escape the runners on first and second jam with a potential 5-4-3 double play off Jorge Soler's bat, but Chris Carter couldn't handle Starlin Castro's throw at first. Whit Merrifield and Drew Butera followed with back-to-back singles to make it 2-0 Kansas City.
That second inning was Montgomery's lone problem inning until the fifth, as he retired the Royals in order in the first, third, and fourth frames. In the fifth, with runners on first and second, Mike Moustakas changed what could have been a good outing into a poor one. He belted a three-run homer to right, just out of the reach of the leaping Aaron Judge. That made it 5-0.
On the positive side, Chad Green was lights out once he entered the game. He pitched three innings after Montgomery departed, allowed one hit, and struck out six. It looks like he could be an asset in the bullpen, but I have to imagine he'll get another chance to start soon.
Too little, too late
In the ninth, Royals' manager Ned Yost brought in Kelvin Herrera, his closer, for some work. It was a struggle, as we seem to see fairly often for closers in non-save situations. Starlin Castro opened the inning with a double while Aaron Judge beat out a deep grounder to shortstop Alcides Escobar. Chase Headley then struck out, but Didi Gregorius put the Yankees on the board with a RBI single to cut the lead to 5-1. No shutout! The Yankees haven't been blanked yet this year. Didi's single was the last gasp, as Hicks and Gardner went down to end the game.
- Tonight's game was on FS1 and was Alex Rodriguez' debut in the broadcast booth as a color commentator? What did everyone think? He seemed a bit nervous and not completely comfortable. Understandable for a first go.
- Of course, right after I wrote about Hicks earlier today, he goes 0-4 with 2 strikeouts. When I wrote about Brett Gardner's struggles earlier this year, he quickly turned it around. Maybe I should stick to penning pieces about scuffling Yanks.
- The Yankees are in Tampa Bay tomorrow night for a 7:10pm game at the Trop. Luis Severino gets the ball and will square off against Erasmo Ramirez.