Kennedy amazed by string of strong outings

Royals right-hander notches 4th straight quality start vs. Tigers

Kennedy amazed by string of strong outings

DETROIT -- Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy knew he has been pretty good lately.

But Kennedy had no idea he has been this good -- after a 3-1 win over the Tigers on Monday night, Kennedy now has gone four starts and 26 innings giving up only three runs (1.04 ERA).

"Pretty good outings," Kennedy said when told of the numbers. "I just try to go one start at a time and focus on the next start. I just focus on each start and not get ahead of yourself. Once you start feeling good about yourself, you get humbled."

Kennedy went 6 2/3 innings and gave up five hits and one run against the Tigers in the series opener at Comerica Park. He walked one and struck out five.

The first three hits allowed were all infield hits, and the Tigers didn't barrel a ball until J.D. Martinez socked a home run in the seventh.

"My fastball command was better," Kennedy said. "It was down for the most part -- I made one mistake, the ball that ran right toward the middle to [J.D. Martinez]. Slider was good, didn't throw many changeups, but when I did, it was down, too.

"It's a tough lineup. You got to navigate through them and try to get weak contact. I wasn't striking many guys out, but we had good defensive alignment -- (coach) Mike (Jirschele) did a good job."

Royals manager Ned Yost has seen virtually his whole rotation find a groove, especially Danny Duffy and Kennedy.

"[Kennedy] was on his game … really, really good," Yost said. "He's commanding his secondary stuff better. And he's commanding his fastball better. When he struggles at times, it's because he struggles to get the feel of his curveball. That kind of narrows him to two pitches.

"But when he's got his curveball like he has now, he's got three pitches working for him, throwing them all for strikes. He's just in a good groove."

Asked to compare his game now to earlier in the season when he was dominant, Kennedy said there are similarities.

"I feel good, delivery-wise, the last four starts," Kennedy said. "Salvy [Perez] and I are mixing it up pretty well. A lot of those adjustments I made a while back are staying with me. When you do fall out of your mechanics, you correct it right away and make sure it doesn't become a pattern.

"You just tell yourself to stay back, and use the little tricks you use to help."

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.