Kansas City, Mo. The Kansas City bullpen picked up starter Danny Duffy when he labored in his return from Tommy John surgery, keeping the Minnesota Twins guessing Wednesday night and sending the Royals to a 5-2 victory and series win.
Duffy struck out seven in 3 2/3 innings in his first outing since May 2012, but needed 93 pitches to get that far. He left trailing 2-1 on another humid night at Kauffman Stadium.
Louis Coleman (2-0) and three more Kansas City relievers managed to navigate the next 4 1/3 innings, and All-Star closer Greg Holland worked around a single in the ninth for his 30th save.
Royals pitchers combined to strike out 16.
Alex Gordon homered off Samuel Deduno (7-5) to tie the game once Duffy left. Alcides Escobar hit a go-ahead single later in the fourth, Lorenzo Cain hit an RBI single in the fifth, and Gordon drove in another run in the seventh with the 200th double of his career.
Deduno, who hadn’t lost in his last four starts, allowed four runs on 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He didn’t walk a batter for the first time this season.
Minnesota made sure that Duffy would work hard in his return to a big league mound.
Brian Dozier, whose leadoff homer set the tone in a 7-0 win Tuesday night, opened the game with a triple off the young left-hander. Brian Colabello worked a two-out walk before Ryan Doumit delivered an RBI single to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.
Doumit would leave the game in the fourth inning after feeling nauseous.
The Royals answered in the third when Brett Hayes, who’s filling in at catcher while Salvador Perez is out with a concussion, lined a double off the third-base bag. Deduno recovered to retire the next two Royals, but Escobar drove in Hayes with a tying single.
The Twins pulled back ahead in the fourth when Clete Thomas worked a walk and Dozier hit a two-out double that also knocked Duffy from the game. But the Royals answered again in the bottom half on Gordon’s homer — which snapped a 1-for-23 skid — and a series of singles by Miguel Tejada, Hayes and Escobar.