ST. PETERSBURG -- This was almost no-hit stuff. And almost unhittable stuff.
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy simply dominated the Rays in a 3-0 win on Monday night, carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning before Desmond Jennings ripped a solid double to left.
Duffy said he wasn't disappointed in losing the no-hitter.
"You guys can dispute that all you want and you can focus in on that, but no, none whatsoever," Duffy said. "I was perfectly content with the pitch and how it turned out. It was a fastball up and you tip your hat to him."
Catcher Salvador Perez blamed himself.
'I think it was my fault," Perez said. "[Jennings] struck out on a changeup and slider before and I didn't think he would be ready for a fastball."
Duffy struck out five of the first six hitters, and posting a franchise- and career-high 16 strikeouts in the process.
"I've seen a few that good," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But not many. He was just electric tonight. He had everything going, seven innings of no-hit baseball and eight innings, 16 punchouts, one walk. It was special."
Duffy, who started the season in the bullpen, employed two-seam and four-seam fastballs in the 95-97 mph range along with a devastating changeup at 85-87. He also mixed in a slider and constantly kept the Rays off-balance and guessing.
Duffy walked one -- Logan Forsythe on a 3-2 pitch -- and didn't allow a ground-ball out.
"Duffy had everything going, obviously," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Electric fastball and just a wipeout changeup, mix in an occasional curveball. He gave us a lot of trouble. And from the side, you could definitely see why. Quiet night offensively."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Striking distance: The Rays seemed to have little chance against Duffy at the plate all night. Their best opportunity to score came in the fourth when Forsythe walked with none out and advanced to third on a throwing error from Duffy with two out. But Duffy struck out Steven Souza Jr.
Golden Arch: Rays starter Chris Archer wasn't the best pitcher on Monday night, but he was very strong in his own right. After not being dealt at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, he pitched 7 1/3 innings and yielded three runs, two in the eighth inning. He did pick up his 15th loss, which is the most in the Majors. He struck out six and walked one. More >
"I thought Arch was really good," Cash said. "Again, if he had to have one pitch back, it would probably be the pitch to [Alcides] Escobar. He just left a changeup up there in the seventh inning or eighth inning. But he threw the ball well. Really well. It was just unfortunate we couldn't get anything going to get some runs for him."
Fresh off the DL: Jennings, who was playing in his first game since June 30, broke up Duffy's no-hit bid leading off the eighth inning. He had struck out and popped out in his first two at-bats, but laced a double to the wall in left field. He was promptly stranded at second as Duffy retired the next three batters.
"It wasn't looking too good for a little while," Jennings said. "... It was a good pitch to hit."
Long, long ball:Kendrys Morales broke up the scoreless tie with one out in the seventh. He blasted a home run to dead center that Kevin Kiermaier leapt for, but had no chance to catch. The one run would prove to be enough for the Royals to back up the best start of Duffy's career. They added two more in the eighth on Escobar's single and Lorenzo Cain's sacrifice fly.
"It was a disappointing, frustrating, emotional day. But I don't know if that's why we lost the game. I would probably say that is not the reason we lost the game. That dude was on." -- Archer, on the emotions of the non-waiver Trade Deadline and the loss
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Duffy's 16 strikeouts were the most in Royals history. Zack Grienke had 15 in 2009. It was also the most strikeouts in a game at Tropicana Field.
Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura (6-9, 4.88 ERA) takes the mound on Tuesday for the second game of the series at 6:10 p.m. CT. Ventura recorded his first career complete game in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers on Thursday. He gave up four hits and three runs (all solo homers) through eight innings.
Rays:Matt Andriese (6-2, 2.75) will rejoin the rotation after Matt Moore was traded to the Giants on Monday when he faces the Royals on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Andriese made eight starts for the Rays before being bumped to the bullpen in June. He was 5-0 as a starter and threw a shutout in May against the A's.
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