KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals will spend the next 11 days on the road after completing their best homestand in nearly three decades.
Danny Duffy pitched six effective innings and rookie Whit Merrifield had two hits and scored a run as the Kansas City Royals beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3 on Wednesday night to complete a 6-0 homestand.
The last time the Royals had a homestand of 6-0 or better was June 2-8, 1988, when they went 7-0.
“It feels good. I wish we could stay here another week,” said Jarrod Dyson, who had a sacrifice bunt, stole a base, walked, scored a run and picked up his sixth outfield assist.
Duffy (1-0) allowed three runs and seven hits, while walking none and striking out six over six innings, his longest outing since moving into the rotation on May 15.
“It’s nice, you have to take care of business at home,” Duffy said. “We didn’t lose in this series at home. It’s huge.”
Duffy was efficient, throwing only 40 pitches in the first four innings and 75 total. Early in his career he would get his pitch count up in a hurry.
“The only way to escape your past is be better than your past,” Duffy said. “Everybody grows in this game.”
Royals relievers Joakim Soria, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis held the Rays scoreless over the final three innings. Davis picked up his 16th save in 17 chances, but not before walking one, giving up a hit and uncorking a wild pitch.
Merrifield has hit in his first 11 career starts, which is a Royals’ record. He doubled in the first and scored on Lorenzo Cain’s single. He has scored a run in nine consecutive games, which matches a Royals rookie record set by Mike Aviles in 2008. Merrifield singled in the fourth for his seventh multihit game.
Chris Archer (3-7) gave up five runs, four earned, eight hits and two walks over six innings.
“We were down from the start really quick,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Archer came out and it looked like his thought was to pound the strike zone and their thought was not to take anything.”
The Royals’ offense included Cain going 3 for 4 with an RBI and scoring two runs. Cain has 24 RBI in 20 games after driving in just 10 in his first 30. Kendrys Morales had two hits and drove in a run.
Curt Casali homered for the Rays, while Mikie Mahtook snapped a career-worst 0-for-19 skid with a third-inning double and scored on a single by Brad Miller.
“Baseball players are dumb sometimes,” Casali said. “We try to over-swing. That’s when we get into fits and stuff doesn’t go the way we want it to. I’m not trying to hit home runs. I’m trying to hit the ball as hard as I can and put as quick of a swing as I can. Fortunately that was a good one.”