CHICAGO -- The formula for the Royals' sixth victory in a row felt familiar. They relied upon seven scoreless innings from Danny Duffy and capitalized on a series of White Sox errors in a 9-1 victory on Saturday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.
Duffy (4-5, 2.83 ERA) tied a career-high total with nine strikeouts. He matched a mark set June 19, 2011 – a relative lifetime ago for a pitcher who has since undergone Tommy John surgery and who began this season in Class AAA Omaha. He required only 98 pitches to bring his team into the eighth inning, when Aaron Crow replaced him after a leadoff single.
Aided by the miscues of their hosts, the Royals hung a five-run barrage on White Sox starter Hector Noesi in the fourth inning. In the later innings, the offense tacked on a few more. Mike Moustakas added a solo homer in the eighth for his third hit of the day. Eric Hosmer delivered an RBI double in the ninth, and Billy Butler followed him with his second homer of the year.
Credit for the critical rally's origins belong with the Royals. Butler worked a leadoff walk. Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez followed with singles. The bases were loaded, and the White Sox stood on the precipice of their defensive collapse.
Lorenzo Cain attacked the second pitch he saw, a 95 mph fastball in on his hands. He smoked the ball right at third baseman Leury Garcia. The baseball shot between Garcia's legs, a fielding error, and two runs scored.
Moustakas came to the plate with runners at the corners. Noesi jammed him with a knee-high changeup. Moustakas popped up and stood at the plate for a moment as the ball hung in the air. Six seconds passed before it fell to the grass in shallow left field, not long enough for Dayan Viciedo to sprint forward and make a diving grab. The harmless pop fly became an RBI single.
The Royals added a run two batters later, when Nori Aoki hit into a double play with the bases loaded. Omar Infante slapped an RBI single through the left side to hit in his team's fifth run and eject Noesi from the game.
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