DETROIT — Danny Duffy’s season has taken quite a turn for the worse over the past month.
Duffy allowed six runs and was chased in the fourth inning Friday night, and the Kansas City Royals lost 8-3 to the Detroit Tigers. Detroit remained a half-game ahead of Baltimore for the second wild card in the American League.
Duffy had won 10 straight decisions before allowing seven runs in a loss at Boston on Aug. 27. He’s won only once since.
Duffy (12-3) allowed seven hits in 3 2/3 innings Friday. He walked four and struck out four.
"I cost my team a chance to win that game," Duffy said. "I just didn’t have it. There are going to be days like this."
Michael Fulmer pitched seven sharp innings for the Tigers in his first win in over a month. Fulmer (11-7) allowed a run and eight hits, striking out nine with no walks.
Justin Upton, Victor Martinez and Cameron Maybin went deep for the Tigers, who won their fifth game in a row.
"I think there’s a little bit of a sense of urgency now," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. "This is our last homestand. This is the last chance at home to try and do something in the standings, and we’re playing against two teams … in Kansas City and Cleveland, we know very well. Maybe I was the only one that felt it, but I felt there was more energy."
The Tigers jumped ahead right away against Duffy. The Royals made two errors in the first inning, and Upton’s RBI double made it 2-0.
"They are fighting for their life and doing everything they have to do to be a playoff team," Duffy said. "You could tell there was that kind of hunger there."
Martinez and Upton each hit solo shots in the third, and Maybin’s two-run homer in the fourth made it 6-0.
Upton has 27 homers on the season, including 14 in his last 29 games.
Kansas City has lost nine of its last 12.
Kansas City’s only run off Fulmer came after replay overturned the second out of an apparent double play, which would have ended the sixth. Ausmus complained to the umpires, saying the Royals had waited too long before challenging.
"I said I wanted to protest, which, even going into it, when I said it, I knew instant replay wasn’t protestable," Ausmus said.
After the review revived the rally, Paulo Orlando hit an RBI single.
ON THE BORDERLINE
Fulmer is the AL’s ERA leader at 2.95 — his 155 2/3 innings are enough to qualify at this point. He’ll need to throw 6 1/3 more to qualify for the title at the end of the season.
The Tigers have taken steps to limit his workload, and this latest start was a positive sign.
"I thought Fulmer was really on top of his game," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Really good fastball, down in the zone, really good slider, really good changeup."
Royals: Kansas City C Salvador Perez sat out with what Yost described as a very minor knee issue.
Royals: Kansas City sends RHP Yordano Ventura (11-11) to the mound for Saturday’s game at Detroit. Ventura is coming off a complete game against the Chicago White Sox on Monday.
Tigers: Detroit starts LHP Daniel Norris (3-2) in the middle game of this series.