Young lefty Danny Duffy becomes the latest streak-breaking candidate for the skidding Kansas City Royals today when they face the visiting Toronto Blue Jays in the third game of a four-game set at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals dropped game two on Saturday, 9-5, for their eighth consecutive loss at home - longest in franchise history - and ninth in a row overall.
Colby Rasmus went deep twice and drove in four runs and Edwin Encarnacion added a home run and three RBI to power the Blue Jays.
Rasmus and Encarnacion each had three of Toronto's 14 hits to back Drew Hutchinson in his major league debut. The 21-year-old Hutchinson (1-0) recorded his first win despite allowing five runs on eight hits and three walks over 5 1/3 frames.
"I battled out there," Hutchinson admitted. "The offense did a great job and the defense made some really great plays."
The Royals did not have enough firepower to survive Luis Mendoza's poor start and subpar relief efforts by Everett Teaford and Kelvin Herrera. Mendoza was charged with four runs on 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings, Teaford (0-1) gave up three runs in his three-inning stint and Herrera served up a pair of home runs.
Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon each homered and Alcides Escobar went 4-for-4 in defeat.
Duffy, a 23-year-old from Goleta, Calif., debuted in the majors last season and was 4-8 across 20 starts with a 5.64 earned run average in 105 1/3 innings.
His initial start of 2012 was a strong one and resulted in a 3-0 triumph at Oakland after he twirled six innings of one-hit ball with eight strikeouts.
He pitched well, but dropped a 3-2 decision to Detroit in start No. 2 after giving up seven hits and three runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Duffy struck out 102 batters in his 20 outings last season and has 15 strikeouts in just 12 2/3 innings to begin this year.
He made one start against the Blue Jays last season and lost after allowing five runs on eight hits in four innings, walking four and striking out one.
Another California-born lefty, 27-year-old Ricky Romero, gets the call for Toronto after winning consecutive decisions in his second and third starts of 2012.
Romero did not get verdict after a five-inning stint against Cleveland on April 5, but has defeated Boston and Tampa Bay since while allowing just 11 hits and four runs in 14 1/3 innings.
He won a career-high 14 games for Toronto in 2010 and bumped that total to 15 last season while working 225 innings.
In three lifetime starts against the Royals, Romero is 1-1.
Kansas City was 4-3 versus the Jays a year ago.