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
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.