KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Danny Duffy threw six strong innings and Lorenzo Cain had three hits and scored two runs as the red-hot Royals completed a sweep of the Rays with a 6-3 win on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.The Royals have won six straight -- all on this homestand
KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Danny Duffy threw six strong innings and Lorenzo Cain had three hits and scored two runs as the red-hot Royals completed a sweep of the Rays with a 6-3 win on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals have won six straight -- all on this homestand -- and 13 of 16 on their ascent into first place in the American League Central. The Indians remained 1 1/2 games back while the White Sox are two games back.
"Just a great homestand," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I mean, what are you going to say? We haven't done that since 1988 [as a franchise]. Just a fun and exciting homestand."
Duffy went six innings and gave up three runs as he notched his first win of the season. He walked none, which kept his pitch count at 75, right near his limit for this outing. He struck out six.
"I felt like I had another inning in me," Duffy said. "But I appreciate the fact that they are monitoring me closely. We built up this pitch count fast, so good to be careful."
Right-hander Chris Archer gave up eight hits and four earned runs over six innings, while walking two and striking out four.
Catcher Curt Casali homered, his sixth, and doubled for the Rays.
"We were down from the start, really quick," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Arch came out and looked like his thought was to pound the strike zone and their thought looked like it was not to take anything. ... These guys can hit. They capitalize when guys get on base. And that's what we saw for a third straight night."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Soria shuts 'em down: The Rays threatened to get back in it in the seventh when Casali doubled and Brandon Guyer walked with one out against reliever Joakim Soria. But after a long battle, Soria struck out Miller on a high fastball. Then, Soria changed speeds early against Evan Longoria before striking him out. Since May 1, Soria has the lowest ERA on the Royals at 1.23.
"He did a nice job," Yost said. "He ended up walking a guy after [the double]. He made big pitches when he needed to, but that's what Jack does so well."
First-inning blues continue: Archer has been fighting a season-long battle with the first inning. In 12 starts, he has yielded runs in the first inning six times, which translates to 14 runs surrendered in the first, for a first-inning ERA of 10.50.
LoCain Train: Cain singled in Whit Merrifield in the first inning after Merrifield had doubled. A run scored in the second when Drew Butera scored on Cain's grounder to third which was ruled an error. Cain also singled leading off the seventh and scored on Omar Infante's sacrifice fly.
Casali breaks out: Casali entered Wednesday night's game in the midst of a 1-for-30 stretch. But he came through with a solo home run in the fifth and he followed with a double in his next at-bat. He finished 2-for-3 with a walk in the ninth against Wade Davis. More >
"Great for Curt," Cash said. "He has been scuffling. He smoked two balls. Had some good at-bats. Had a good at-bat right there off Wade Davis in the last inning. So that was nice to see."
"Those guys don't strike out. We strike out too much. We've got to stop striking out. ... They get it done. They put the ball in play. We haven't." -- Cash, on the Royals
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The Human Baseball Magnet, a.k.a., Guyer got hit by a pitch for the 15th time this season when Duffy plunked him with two out in the fifth. Guyer has been hit 50 times in 281 career games and has already eclipsed the career totals of most Hall of Famers, including Hank Aaron (32), George Brett (33), Babe Ruth (43) and Willie Mays (44).
Royals rookie Merrifield now has a hit in his first 11 career starts, a franchise record.
Rays: Lefty Matt Moore (2-3, 5.31 ERA) will make his 11th start of the season as the Rays open a four-game road series against the Twins on Thursday at 8:10 p.m. ET. Left-handed hitters are hitting .327 against Moore this season.
Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura (4-3, 5.17) will start on Thursday at 6:10 p.m. CT as the Royals start a 10-game road trip with four games in Cleveland. Ventura faced the Indians on May 6 at Progressive Field and took the loss in a 7-1 defeat.
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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.