Danny Duffy struck out nine batters over seven scoreless innings and the Kansas City offense rattled off nine runs on 16 hits Saturday in a 9-1 victory against the host White Sox. It was the sixth consecutive win for the Royals, who are now 9-3 in June and just a game-and-a-half back of the Tigers for first place in the American League Central.
Duffy, a 25-year-old former top prospect, opened the 2014 season with a 4.75 career ERA and 1.57 career WHIP in 157 1/3 major league innings. He boasts a 2.83 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 54 frames this year.
The Royals will wrap up their three-game series in Chicago on Sunday afternoon and then head to Detroit for a massively-important four-game set.
Your box scores and recaps from Saturday:
Royals 9, White Sox 1
Cubs 4, Phillies 7
Blue Jays 2, Orioles 3
Indians 3, Red Sox 2
Rockies 5, Giants 4
Twins 9, Tigers 12
Rays 3, Astros 7
Padres 5, Mets 0
Pirates 8, Marlins 6
Reds 2, Brewers 4
Nationals 1, Cardinals 4
Angels 11, Braves 6
Yankees 1, Athletics 5
Rangers 4, Mariners 3
Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 6
Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.
The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.
When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.
Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.
Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.