Royals-Orioles Preview

Zach Britton is having an outstanding start to his major league

career with the Baltimore Orioles. The Kansas City Royals are

hoping for similar things from rookie Danny Duffy.

The talented left-handers will take the mound when the Royals

and Orioles open a three-game series at Camden Yards on Tuesday

night.

Kansas City called up Duffy (0-0, 4.50 ERA) last week to take

the rotation spot of the injured Kyle Davies. Duffy allowed two

runs, four hits and six walks over four-plus innings in his major

league debut at home against Texas on Wednesday, a 5-4 loss in 11

innings.

“I thought he threw the ball great,” manager Ned Yost told the

Royals’ official website. “His pitch count got way up, but

stuff-wise, he was very impressive and very encouraging.”

Duffy, one of the Royals’ top prospects, took a leave of absence

from the organization in March 2010 to handle unspecified personal

issues and believed at one point he wouldn’t play again.

“I was amped, I was really excited,” the 22-year-old said. “I

know I kept us in there tonight, but I want to get us over the top

next time.”

Duffy won’t have much room for error against Britton (5-2,

2.14), who has allowed one earned run or less in six of nine starts

and is 3-1 with a 1.54 ERA in six outings at home.

The 23-year-old, who is tied for the team lead in wins and ranks

among the leaders in the majors in ERA, allowed one unearned run in

seven innings of a 4-1, 15-inning loss to the New York Yankees on

Wednesday. He’s gone 19 1-3 consecutive innings without yielding an

earned run.

This will be his first time facing the Royals, who took two of

three from Baltimore (21-24) in Kansas City from May 3-5. Melky

Cabrera led the way by going 5 for 13 with a home run, two doubles

and six RBIs in the series, while Jeff Francoeur homered twice in

11 at-bats.

The Royals (22-24) have won only one series since facing the

Orioles and have lost seven of nine. They dropped the final two

games of a weekend set against St. Louis, falling 9-8 in 10 innings

Sunday.

Kansas City walked 13, including two with the bases loaded in

the 10th after rallying from a 7-1 deficit to tie the game in the

seventh.

“We showed a lot of heart battling back and we came close to

pulling it out,” Yost said. “We just couldn’t get over the

hump.”

Kansas City’s pitchers weren’t the only ones who had a rough

afternoon. Rookie first baseman Eric Hosmer went 0 for 5 and

committed an error in the fourth that allowed a run to score. The

Royals had gone a team-record 106 consecutive innings without an

error before his miscue.

Baltimore is looking to win its third straight after Vladimir

Guerrero hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning of a 2-1 victory

over Washington on Sunday.

Guerrero is hitting .444 with five doubles and six RBIs over the

last eight games. He played in two of the contests in Kansas City

earlier this month, going 1 for 7 with two walks.