Kansas City, Mo. Danny Duffy got another lesson in major league pitching Saturday night.
The 22-year-old left-hander made his 14th big league start against Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander. Duffy knew he would have to keep the scoring down to have a chance, but he promptly walked two in the first inning and allowed both to score. The Tigers went on to beat the Kansas City Royals, 4-3.
“I didn’t have very good command,” Duffy said. “I didn’t do my job. I didn’t locate very well. I’m really frustrated with myself right now. I didn’t keep my team in the game. “
Verlander (16-5) lasted seven innings despite some balky defense behind him to win his fifth straight start and move into a tie with CC Sabathia for the major league lead in wins. The big-right hander also improved to 13-2 in his career against Kansas City, allowing just three runs on five hits with eight strikeouts.
Duffy (3-4), meanwhile, needed 37 pitches just to get through the first inning.
“I thought I threw some good pitches,” he said. “They were off the plate. I wasn’t nibbling. I wasn’t trying to make a perfect pitch. I didn’t locate as well as I normally do. That’s going to happen when you fall behind in the count as much as I did today. The pitch count is going to get up.
“They only had five hits, but three walks,” he said. “That’s eight base runners right there. That’s not acceptable. We didn’t win the game. I’m upset. I’m kicking myself over the whole start.”
Joaquin Benoit pitched out of a jam in the eighth for Detroit, and Jose Valverde converted his 32nd straight save to start the season, matching the club record set by AL MVP Willie Hernandez in 1984.
Victor Martinez drove in a pair of runs before getting hurt, and Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez had the other RBIs for the American League Central-leading Tigers. They’ll go for the series sweep today.
The Royals were trailing, 4-1, in the seventh when an error by Ryan Raburn gave them hope.
Raburn had just moved from third base to right field to start the inning. Eric Hosmer singled with one out and Jeff Francoeur doubled down the right-field line. Raburn’s throw overshot second base by a wide margin, allowing Hosmer to score.
Weak-hitting Brayan Pena’s two-out double moments later drew Kansas City within 4-3.