KANSAS CITY -- Danny Duffy played the role of stopper on Monday night.
Maybe it wasn't the most traditional version of the role, as that title is usually assigned after a pitcher stops a team's losing streak. The Royals lost the game, 3-2, to the Tigers, but Duffy ended a streak of nightmare outings for the Kansas City starting staff.
Duffy took the loss, but he threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks. He struck out seven.
That's easily the best outing by a Royals starting pitcher since the team returned home from its season-opening road trip. In a three-game series against Cleveland over the weekend, no Royals starter recorded an out after the fourth inning, and Luke Hochevar, Jonathan Sanchez and Luis Mendoza combined to allow a total of 21 runs.
Duffy ended that streak Monday against a Tigers team known for its pop. The seven strikeouts nearly equaled his impressive first outing of the season, when he struck out eight Oakland Athletics.
Duffy wasn't pleased with a few of the pitches he made, including two that ended up as home runs off the bats of Austin Jackson and Brandon Inge.
"I definitely got lost in that first inning," Duffy said. "But Dave [Eiland, pitching coach] came out and told me what I've got to do. And I know what I've got to do. But it was a tough loss. I made a mistake to Inge, and I feel like I executed every pitch to the best of my ability."
Royals manager Ned Yost, who had to take the ball from his starters very early during the previous three games, was pleased with Duffy's outing.
"Danny Duffy was outstanding," Yost said. "It was fantastic stuff, and he was really commanding it. He really got settled in in the third inning."
Yost wasn't the only skipper impressed with Duffy, with Tigers manager Jim Leyland calling Duffy "a tremendous-looking young pitcher." There was more praise from the Detroit clubhouse.
"He's got a great arm. He's got good stuff," Inge said of Duffy. "He's still learning. He's going to be a good pitcher. He already is, but he'll be really good down the road."