KANSAS CITY -- Royals left-hander Danny Duffy was cruising along Tuesday night, carrying a lead into the sixth, and looking everything like the pitcher he had been over the last seven starts, a stretch in which he posted a 2.68 ERA.
But Duffy's season bugaboo -- his secondary pitches -- bit him in the sixth. Duffy hung a changeup to Cleveland's Yan Gomes, who plopped it into the left-field bullpen for a grand slam with none out in the sixth, and that carried the Tribe to a 6-4 win at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals have now lost five straight and 23 of 27.
Duffy has given up 12 home runs this season off his slider and changeup -- six on each. Conversely, opponents have hit only three home runs off his four-seam fastball.
"I feel really good about them," Duffy said of his secondary pitches. "I honestly feel really good about them. But I got beat on my offspeed today. I'm not going to sit here and say I made good pitches. I didn't. I gave up six runs. I didn't pitch well."
Duffy fell in trouble in the sixth with his fastball, walking Edwin Encarnacion and then hitting Brandon Guyer with a four-seamer. After an infield hit loaded the bases, Duffy stayed away from the four-seamer to Gomes and left a 1-0 changeup on the outer half of the plate. Gomes didn't miss and the Tribe went up 6-4.
Where did Duffy want the changeup?
"Not there," Duffy said. "I wanted it down, and not over the middle of the plate where he could tattoo it. I wouldn't have gotten into that situation had I not hit Guyer. He's a guy who's seemingly right on the plate and I let one get away. Walked the first guy, just a weird inning.
"All that could have been avoided if I hadn't made a bad pitch to [Gomes] … I hate all that [garbage] that these things happen, but they have happened to us a lot lately."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Royals lost a potential run in the eighth on a bizarre play. With two outs and Salvador Perez on second and Alex Gordon on first, Hunter Dozier ripped a single to center. The Indians seemed to be conceding the run with a two-run advantage and center fielder Rajai Davis threw into third. But the slow-footed Perez was sent, but then stopped by third base coach Mike Jirschele. Perez, though, suddenly started running toward home when he saw the throw go to third. Shortstop Francisco Lindor cut off the throw and then appeared startled to see a runner heading for home. Lindor threw out Perez at the plate.
"Two outs, trailing by two runs, I thought the throw would go to second base," Perez said. "[Jirschele] gave me the sign [to stop], but it was a little late and you guys saw the rest."
Added Royals manager Ned Yost: "That's a difficult play right there, because Jirsch was waving Salvy, and then Sal looked down to make sure he hit the bag, and when he looked up, it was kind of a stop sign, so he was caught in between. It wasn't that he decided he was going to run through it. It was just one of those mistakes. I coached third base for a long time in the big leagues and those things happen and it's not the runner's mistake. ... We all make mistakes, trust me."
Lindor indeed was surprised Perez hadn't already scored.
"When I first looked, I saw [Jirschele] sending him," Lindor said. "So I was like, 'OK, he's going to score.' I was just trying to keep the guy from going to third, so I set up to throw to third. As I'm catching the ball, I hear [second baseman Erik] Gonzalez saying 'Four! Four! Four! Four!' so that's when I threw to home plate."
The Royals had intended to start right-hander Ian Kennedy for the series finale against the Indians on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. CT, but Kennedy was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of a strained left oblique. No corresponding move was announced and a starter has yet to be named to replace Kennedy. Right-hander Trevor Bauer (7-6, 2.45) ERA will pitch for the Tribe and that might be good news for Duda, who is 3-for-7 lifetime against Bauer with a home run.