Duffy thriving in starting role with first victory

Royals lefty notches six K's in helping to pin down sweep of Rays

Duffy thriving in starting role with first victory

KANSAS CITY-- When opportunity knocked, Danny Duffy was ready.

With injuries to Kris Medlen and Chris Young, Duffy had the opportunity to return to a starting role, where the lefty has shown continual improvement, most recently with six quality innings for his first win of the season in the Royals' 6-3 victory over the Rays on Wednesday night.

"I thought he threw great," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I thought he was terrific."

For Duffy, a strong early start in his last appearance was marred by a rough sixth inning, where he gave up five straight hits, including back-to-back home runs after a perfect 5 1/3 innings against the White Sox last Friday.

Against the Rays, Duffy got into a bit of trouble in the sixth, but he managed to escape. He gave up three earned runs in the victory, but never more than one in a single inning. Throughout the game, he stayed in control of all his pitches and made it three straight outings without issuing a walk, something that had previously been an issue in his career.

"Everybody grows in this game ... the only way to escape your past is to be better than your past," Duffy said. "It's just been nice to be efficient. Get quick outs, three-pitch outs."

Duffy said he felt he could've returned for the seventh inning, but acknowledged that with such a dominant bullpen, he had no problem turning the ball over. Yost had a similar line of reasoning, adding that with a completely rested 'pen, the choice was easy enough.

However, Duffy may soon be pitching into the seventh, as Yost said Duffy will be "ready to go, full steam" for his next outing. Regardless, for the time being, Duffy said he was happy the staff was monitoring his pitch counts, especially given how quickly his workload was ramped up from a relief spot to that of a starter.

"We've built up this pitch count really quick," Duffy said. "I can appreciate the fact that they're taking care of me."

Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.