DETROIT – Neither Danny Duffy nor his manager was giving much thought to the possibility of a no-hitter on Friday. The left-hander, who is 14 months removed from elbow surgery, was actually happy to finally give up a hit against the Tigers.
Duffy (1-0) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and beat Justin Verlander and Detroit 2-1 on a combined two-hitter in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
Duffy was called up from Triple-A Omaha to make his second big league start of the season, and didn’t allow a hit until Miguel Cabrera’s hard-hit, two out single in the sixth.
“I was glad that they finally got one, honestly, because I just wanted to pitch,” said Duffy, who underwent Tommy John surgery. “I wanted to protect this arm.”
Manager Ned Yost wasn’t about to push his pitcher.
“Even if he didn’t give up a hit in the sixth, that was probably going to be his last inning anyway, because we had him for 100 pitches (he threw 96),” Yost said. “He didn’t have the pitches for the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
“We just wanted five innings out of him and he gave us one more than we expected.”
Kelvin Herrera replaced Duff in the seventh and retired the side in order. Aaron Crow worked the eighth and surrendered Santiago’s pinch-hit home run leading off the inning. Crow got the next three batters. Greg Holland pitched the ninth for his 33rd save.
Eric Hosmer homered for the Royals. Ramon Santiago hit a pinch hit home run for the Tigers.
“Would have liked to have been able to accomplish two things, win and keep the bullpen fresh,” Verlander. “Just didn’t happen that way. Felt like I threw the ball well. Just their guys pitched extremely well, which is they’ve done all year.”
He allowed two runs on seven hits in eight innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.
Verlander gave up Hosmer’s 13th home run of the season, leading off the fourth, which gave the Royals a 1-0 lead. The left-handed hitting first baseman drilled Verlander’s pitch to the opposite field and into the left-field stands beyond the Tigers’ bullpen.
“Just trying to stay to the middle and not pull off anything,” Hosmer said.
Verlander said Hosmer took advantage of a hanging curve.
“Yeah, it was a hanger. You don’t see hanging curveballs hit the opposite field too often though. That was impressive,” he said. “It wasn’t like it was a question about it getting out. I didn’t even watch it. Strong kid.”
Kansas City made it 2-0 on consecutive doubles leading off the seventh by Justin Maxwell and Bonifacio.
Phil Coke and Al Alburquerque pitched the ninth for Detroit, combining to retire the Royals 1-2-3.