Morales, Duffy lead Royals over Phillies 6-2
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Danny Duffy pitched deeper than he ever had in a game while Kendrys Morales continued to hit like he has in the last two weeks.
The red-hot Morales had two home runs and four RBIs, Duffy pitched 8 2/3 strong innings and the Kansas City Royals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2 on Saturday.
It was the third straight game with a homer for Morales, who extended his hitting streak to eight games by going deep in the second inning. He is batting .565 with seven homers and 21 RBIs in his last 13 games.
''I feel really good right now at the plate and the key is I'm making hard contact when I'm swinging the bat,'' Morales said through an interpreter.
Duffy (4-1) allowed two runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts and no walks while setting a career high for innings. The left-hander's previous best was eight innings, which he tied in Monday's win over St. Louis.
The 27-year-old Duffy recorded the first two outs of the ninth but was lifted for Joakim Soria after Cesar Hernandez's RBI single.
He said that prior to Saturday he'd never gotten an out in the ninth inning at any level of baseball. Duffy lobbied manager Ned Yost after the eighth inning to stay in the contest.
''It's cool to finish a game,'' Duffy said. ''(Yost) gave me the opportunity and I'm grateful for it.''
Whit Merrifield and Cheslor Cuthbert added a pair of hits for the defending World Series-champion Royals, who finally gained some ground on Cleveland in the AL Central after the Indians had their 14-game winning streak snapped in Toronto. Kansas City trails the Indians by six games.
Hernandez and Maikel Franco had two hits and an RBI each for Philadelphia, which had its four-game winning streak snapped.
Aaron Nola (5-8) lost his fourth straight game after giving up five runs on six hits in five innings. Nola hadn't gotten past 3 2/3 innings his three previous losses, and the 23-year-old right-hander has a 13.50 ERA during his skid. There were signs of encouragement, though, as Nola finished by retiring 10 straight batters.
''The last three innings, he looked like his old self,'' Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
The Royals scored all five of their runs off Nola in the second inning.
Morales did the greatest damage, putting the Royals up 5-1 with a three-run home run to right field. Normally Kansas City's designated hitter, Morales has played right field the last two games because Yost wanted to keep his hot bat in the lineup.
''He's carrying us a little bit right now,'' Yost said.
The Royals tied the game at 1 on Duffy's first major league hit and RBI, a bunt single that was popped up into a perfect spot between the pitcher's mound and shortstop. Duffy had been 0 for 10 with five strikeouts this season.
''I'll take it,'' Duffy said. ''It just worked.''
Merrifield's RBI single to right with two outs put Kansas City ahead 2-1 before Morales' drive.
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the first on Franco's single that bounded off Duffy's outstretched glove to score Peter Bourjos, who reached with a triple to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.
Philadelphia looked poised to score again in the fourth, but Alcides Escobar's stellar defense saved a run. Escobar sprinted deep in the hole at shortstop to field Hernandez's ground ball and threw to second for a force play on Carlos Ruiz for the final out.
Kansas City capped its scoring in the eighth when Morales led off with his 14th homer of the season.
''I hit it good but I hit it straight up in the air. Luckily I'm playing in a park that is conducive to home runs.''
Escobar singled in the first to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
Philadelphia's Tommy Joseph went 0 for 3 with a strikeout, extending his slump to 0 for 17 with seven strikeouts.
The Royals pitchers had allowed a home run in a club record-tying 18 straight games before not surrendering one on Saturday. They gave up 31 homers from June 21 through Saturday.
Royals RHP Yordano Ventura (6-5, 5.00) opposes Philadelphia RHP Vince Velasquez (6-2, 3.38) on Sunday afternoon in the conclusion of the three-game series.