CLEVELAND -- When manager Ned Yost made the short walk to the mound to relieve starter Danny Duffy during the fourth inning of the Royals' 11-2 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field on Sunday, it would be understandable if he was feeling some form of déjà vu.It was the
CLEVELAND -- When manager Ned Yost made the short walk to the mound to relieve starter Danny Duffy during the fourth inning of the Royals' 11-2 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field on Sunday, it would be understandable if he was feeling some form of déjà vu.
It was the third time in four days he was pulling a starter before the fifth inning. It was the second time in three days he was pulling a starter in the fourth inning after they allowed nine runs.
"He really struggled on getting his pitches down," Yost said of Duffy's performance. "If you look at the replay, all the pitches he got hurt with were breaking pitches up, or pitches up in the zone."
Duffy's outing was plagued by home runs.
The Indians' first long ball came in the second inning when Jose Ramirez lifted a 394-foot three-run home run over the wall in right field to complete a five-run frame. The Indians opened the scoring in the inning on RBI groundouts from outfielders Greg Allen and Michael Brantley.
Francisco Lindor helped Cleveland scratch across another run in the third when the Indians' shortstop brought Yan Gomes in on an RBI single, extending Lindor's hitting streak to a career-high 14 games.
Gomes knocked Duffy out in the next inning with a three-run blast that sailed 393 feet to right-center field to give Cleveland a 9-0 lead.
"Just couldn't get the slider down in the zone," Yost said. "I thought his stuff was good. I thought his fastball was good. It was just his command that haunted him today. Just couldn't dial it in."
For Duffy, who is now 1-5 with a 6.51 ERA this year, it was another start in what is quickly becoming a nightmare campaign for him.
"I just wasn't making pitches. … It felt like they were hitting everything [I threw] a mile," he said. "I left a ball up. I have not been a good pitcher this year."
Outside of the two unearned runs given up in the sixth inning, Corey Kluber had another dominant start against an American League Central opponent. Kluber (6-2) struck out four Royals over six innings and is now 20-3 with a 2.24 ERA against AL Central teams since the start of 2016.
The Royals managed to get to Kluber in the top of the sixth inning thanks in part to two errors by the Indians' defense. Jorge Soler reached on an error by Ramirez and came around to score on a Salvador Perez double. Perez was driven in two batters later by Whit Merrifield.
Duffy allowed nine runs over 3 1/3 innings while walking five and striking out two. Duffy joined Ian Kennedy (nine earned runs allowed in four innings against Baltimore last Thursday) and Jason Hammel (nine earned runs allowed in 3 2/3 innings against Cleveland on Friday) in what has been a rough turn of the rotation for Kansas City.
"There's always concern when you go through an extended stretch [like this], but we'll just keep working," Yost said.
Perez (2-for-4, 2B, RBI) continues to rake since coming off the disabled list. He now has recorded 17 RBIs in 20 games, and seven multi-hit games since coming off the DL. He also is 6-for-18 with two doubles and three RBIs in five games as a DH this year.
HE SAID IT
"I haven't been good this year. There's no cure to this other than being good, and I haven't been good. I wish I had another answer. Do I want to say, 'I'll fix this, and I'll be better?' Of course, I believe that -- in my mind -- there's no lack of confidence. But I've been letting my team down. My team deserves better than this, my catchers deserve better than this. I haven't been performing well at all." -- Duffy
The Royals and starter Eric Skoglund (1-2, 6.34 ERA) host the Rays at Kauffman Stadium on Monday at 6:05 p.m. CT to open a three-game series. Ryan Yarbrough (2-2, 4.30 ERA) will be making his third start of the year for Tampa Bay.
** Henry Palattella ** is a contributor to MLB.com and is based in Cleveland.