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Royals squander Duffy's fine start in nightcap

Lefty logs 8 K's, but bullpen labors late in walk-off loss to Jays
Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- It was deja vu for the Royals as an excellent start from Danny Duffy went for naught in a 5-4 walk-off loss to the Blue Jays in the nightcap of a doubleheader on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays couldn't solve Duffy, who allowed just two hits while striking out eight over six innings after Kansas City's 11-3 loss in the opener. But the bullpen labored late in Game 2 as Brian Flynn loaded the bases in the 10th inning before giving up Luke Maile's walk-off single to right field.

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TORONTO -- It was deja vu for the Royals as an excellent start from Danny Duffy went for naught in a 5-4 walk-off loss to the Blue Jays in the nightcap of a doubleheader on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays couldn't solve Duffy, who allowed just two hits while striking out eight over six innings after Kansas City's 11-3 loss in the opener. But the bullpen labored late in Game 2 as Brian Flynn loaded the bases in the 10th inning before giving up Luke Maile's walk-off single to right field.

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Video: KC@TOR: Maile rips a game-winning single to right

"Phenomenal," manager Ned Yost said of Duffy's outing. "His arm strength is getting better each time he goes out and he's really polishing his command."

Duffy's fastball velocity was also encouraging. The left-hander averaged 91.6 mph on his four-seam fastball through his first three starts this season, which was lower than any season average in his career. Duffy corrected that against the Blue Jays, as he averaged 93.1 mph and maxed out at 95.5 mph.

Video: KC@TOR: Yost on extra-inning loss to Blue Jays

"I felt like I was behind the ball," Duffy said. "I felt like everything was working. That mound was phenomenal. I don't know what it is about this mound and [the Rays'] mound, but I really enjoy pitching off these mountains."

Justin Grimm, who came on in the seventh with the Royals holding a 3-0 lead, walked all three batters he faced while throwing just five strikes on 17 pitches. Brad Keller, who allowed all three inherited runners to score, gave up the lead with a go-ahead RBI single by Steve Pearce.

"Grimm just could not find his slot today," Yost said, "[He] just couldn't do it. Then you get bases loaded, you bring in Keller, who's got really good stuff, but it just kind of snowballs on you."

Video: KC@TOR: Herrera K's Smoak to send it to extras

Kelvin Herrera was a bright spot for the Royals in the late innings and gave them a chance in extras. With runners on the corners and one out in the ninth, Herrera struck out pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson and Justin Smoak to escape the jam and force a 10th inning.

The Royals gave Duffy an early 1-0 lead after Lucas Duda was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Blue Jays starter Joe Biagini retired the next three batters, however, to escape the inning without further damage.

Video: KC@TOR: Almonte belts a solo homer to center

Abraham Almonte hit his first home run of the season for the Royals in the sixth inning off Biagini.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Esky magic: After the Blue Jays' rally in the seventh, Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar tied the game at 4 with a towering shot to right field in the eighth inning off reliever Ryan Tepera. It was Escobar's first home run of the season and left his bat with a launch angle of 35 degrees, according to Statcast™.

Video: KC@TOR: Escobar belts a game-tying homer to left

Moose stays loose: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, who homered in Game 1 and added three hits in the nightcap, extended his hitting streak to nine games on Tuesday and has gone 18-for-34 (.529) with four home runs and nine RBIs in that span. This comes on the heels of a relatively slow start as he hit just .174 with no home runs over his first six games.

Video: KC@TOR: Moustakas lifts an RBI double to left-center

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Royals right fielder Whit Merrifield robbed Yangervis Solarte of extra bases in the 10th inning with a nice running catch. Merrifield got a great jump on the deep fly ball and made a leaping grab near the wall.

Video: KC@TOR: Merrifield ranges back, leaps for the out

HE SAID IT
"Nine times out of 10, Grimm's going to get that done. That's one thing I hate hearing, is 'sorry' after a reliever has a tough go. Don't apologize. These guys are nasty. They're here for a reason, and they're going to get the job done more times than not. There's no discouraged dudes in here." -- Duffy, on the bullpen

UP NEXT
Right-hander Ian Kennedy starts the series finale at 3:07 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Rogers Centre, while the Blue Jays will counter with J.A. Happ in a game that will be broadcast exclusively on Facebook. Kennedy has been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball this season with a 1.00 ERA over his first three starts.

Keegan Matheson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto.

Kansas City Royals, Danny Duffy, Alcides Escobar, Brian Flynn, Justin Grimm, Kelvin Herrera, Brad Keller, Mike Moustakas