KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Danny Duffy trudged off the mound with the bases loaded and his team trailing by a run, and took a seat in the dugout to watch Jason Frasor try to bail him out.
He roared when the Royals reliever struck out Chris Colabello to end the threat.
"He came through with flying colors," Duffy said with a smile.
Buoyed by the clutch pitching, Kansas City churned out three doubles in the bottom half of the inning Wednesday night, scoring all their runs in an eventual 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
"Frasor was huge with the bases loaded," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Just about everybody who stepped on the mound for Kansas City came up big.
Duffy allowed only a homer by Josh Willingham over 5 2-3 innings, despite walking a season-high six. Scott Downs and Kelvin Herrera gave back a run in the seventh, but Herrera struck out Brian Dozier and Willingham with runners on second and third to preserve the Royals’ one-run lead.
Wade Davis worked a perfect eighth, and All-Star closer Greg Holland survived two wild pitches that sent Eduardo Nunez to third base by striking out Sam Fuld for his 28th save.
"Anytime you lose a battle like that it’s frustrating, especially with game on line," Fuld said. "Holland made a great pitch. We battled him."
The Twins’ Phil Hughes (10-8) showed no lingering effects from a comebacker off his right ankle that cut short his last outing. He allowed only three singles before the sixth, when the Royals were able to finally string together a series of hits that gave them the lead.
Omar Infante led off the sixth with a single and Salvador Perez added a tying double moments later. Alex Gordon followed with an RBI double to center, and Mike Moustakas pulled another run-scoring double just inside the first-base line to give Kansas City a 3-1 lead.
The Royals’ bullpen and defense made each run seem huge.
Perez made the first of several memorable plays in the third inning, when he picked Nunez off first base with a snap throw. Duffy picked Fuld off first in the fourth, and Dozier was thrown out at the plate on a base-running mistake later in the inning.
"I’m trying to make an aggressive play," Dozier said.
Perez’s best play may have come in the seventh, when he leaped from the behind the plate to grab a sacrifice bunt and throw the runner out at first. Herrera followed with his strikeouts to leave the go-ahead run standing on second.
"That was a big play right there," Yost said. "That was a great play by Sal."