KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Danny Duffy dueled admirably with Clayton Kershaw until his pitch count got too high, showing not only his vast potential but also how far the young Royals pitcher still needs to go.
"He's a great pitcher. That's an obvious for sure," Duffy said of his Dodgers counterpart, shortly after allowing one run over six innings in a 2-0 loss to Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
"He went out there and had great stuff, great command, as he usually does. His slider is so nasty," Duffy said. "You can always pick up something from your opponents. I just want to go out and command the ball a little better next time."
Duffy (4-7) allowed four hits and four walks but needed a season-high 105 pitches, forcing Royals manager Ned Yost to pull him to protect his surgically repaired shoulder.
Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier drove in a run apiece for Los Angeles.
"Personally I'm proud of the way I got through six," Duffy said. "You can always do better. You eliminate that first inning and that first at-bat of the game, we're looking at a zero-zero tie. I tried to be strong through six. Command was erratic."
That was hardly the case for Kershaw (8-2), who allowed six hits and a walk while striking out eight. The two-time Cy Young winner hasn't allowed a run in 21 1-3 innings, spanning his near-perfect game against Colorado on Wednesday — the only runner occurred on an error — and his previous start against Arizona.
Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his 23rd save.
Eric Hosmer had a pair of hits for the Royals, the first with one out in the first inning to end any thought of Kershaw tossing consecutive no-hitters. Otherwise, their offense was sporadic, unable to string together enough runners to pose much of a threat.
"We had a couple of innings where we had runners at first and second and that was about it," Hosmer said. "Guys like that, when they've got guys in scoring position or on base, they turn on it to a different level."
The Dodgers plated their first run after Justin Turner tripled to lead off the game. He scored on a hard grounder by Gonzalez, which deflected off Duffy and toward second base for what nearly ended up being the game's only run.