BALTIMORE -- If there was any bright spot to the Royals' fifth straight loss, a quiet 4-1 decision to the Orioles on Monday night, it was the continued emergence of Danny Duffy in the starting rotation.
Duffy dominated the O's for six innings, shutting them out on three hits. He later tied a career high with nine strikeouts.
"I feel I made one bad pitch [a slider] to Wieters," Duffy said. "I didn't think the [fastball] to Trumbo was a bad pitch. What can you do? You tip your hat to him.
"Everything was still coming out pretty good [in the seventh]. It was electric tonight. It felt really, really good. It's a shame it went down like that. It is what it is. You can't take any pitches back."
Duffy may have been at his best in the third when the Orioles put runners in scoring position with one out. But he struck out Joey Rickard and Manny Machado to end the threat.
"That was big," Duffy said. "I knew with the stuff I had today, I had a really good chance of getting out of that. My changeup was phenomenal, probably the best I've had. I didn't even throw a slider until the seventh ... that third inning is something I had confidence I could do."
Duffy even shook off a smash to his calf from Trumbo's liner in the fourth.
"I thought Danny was fantastic," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He took that shot from Trumbo off the leg and that's a tough spot, right in the middle of the calf. That thing has a tendency to tighten up, especially if it's your drive leg, and Danny did a good job in between innings of just keeping walking. He didn't sit down. He wasn't going to give it an opportunity to tighten up on him."
Duffy thought his stuff overall might have been the best this season.
"My first outing against Chicago was pretty good," Duffy said. "But efficiency wise and location, and doing everything I wanted to do with the baseball, it was really, really good."
Just not good enough for the slumping Royals, who now have scored three runs in their past four games.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.