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Duffy keeps Royals close with quality outing 

Lefty yields runs on WP, HR in tough duel with Clevinger
@FlannyMLB
July 4, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- Once again, the Royals were no match for Indians starter Mike Clevinger in a 4-0 loss on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium. Clevinger tossed six scoreless innings in just his fifth start in a season that has been derailed by injuries. But he dominated the Royals from

KANSAS CITY -- Once again, the Royals were no match for Indians starter Mike Clevinger in a 4-0 loss on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Clevinger tossed six scoreless innings in just his fifth start in a season that has been derailed by injuries. But he dominated the Royals from the beginning and gave up just four singles -- one was an infield hit by Alex Gordon and another was a broken-bat ground-ball single by Jorge Soler -- while improving to 7-0 in his career against Kansas City.

“He was throwing really hard like he has been lately,” Soler said through interpreter Pedro Grifol. “He had a good two-pitch mix, and also included a breaking ball. And he was commanding them.”

Box score

Clevinger walked none and struck out nine, while lowering his career ERA against the Royals to 2.03.

“He’s just good,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s 97 miles an hour, and that’s not easy to hit. He has a really good slider that he commands well. I went over his last start pitch-by-pitch. He didn’t last very long in Baltimore and was erratic. I was hoping that would be the same today, but it wasn’t. He commanded the ball extremely well and hit his spots.”

Royals starter Danny Duffy kept his team close. He went 6 2/3 innings and gave up just two runs, though he got away with giving up five hits and five walks.

“I think he got a little bit tired right at the end,” Yost said, “but I thought this could be one of the best games he’s pitched for me all year long. He controlled his pitch count. He was very efficient the first five innings, doing a great job of banging strikes with all three pitches. He had everything working.”

Duffy gave up a triple to Roberto Perez in the third inning on a close play at third. Perez then scored on a wild pitch, though the throw from catcher Martin Maldonado beat Perez to the plate and Duffy missed the tag.

In the fourth, Duffy put a slider middle-middle to Carlos Santana, who smacked his 19th home run.

"I felt like I pitched a good game,” Duffy said. “Again, I always tend to focus on the result. In terms of my output, I felt like I did a pretty good job outside of Santana. I've come to learn that if I hang my slider -- I get around it arm-side -- it's just a donation. It's my best pitch when I locate it, and it's my worst pitch when I don't. I didn't locate it.

"Then, the wild pitch. I feel like I did just about everything right. I just timed the tag wrong.”

Soler misses Derby cut

Soler had been hoping to be selected for the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday at Progressive Field. And though with 23 home runs, he is on pace to break the franchise record, he was not chosen, as Joc Pederson of the Dodgers and Alex Bregman of the Astros were added to the eight-man field as announced on Wednesday night.

“I just heard the last two choices,” Soler said. “I was prepared mentally to go, but I’ll watch it from my house.”

Soler said he’ll root for Santana, who drew the No. 7 seed and is looking to become the Indians' first Derby winner.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.