CLEVELAND — Danny Duffy’s days of being bullied via the Indians are over. He is hitting again.
Duffy, who went greater than two years and not using a win over Cleveland, pitched six innings of two-hit ball to overcome an established nemesis and Whit Merrifield drove in all of Kansas Town’s runs with a homer and sacrifice fly, main the Royals over the Indians Three-Zero on Monday.
Duffy (1-Zero) got here in with 12 occupation losses towards the Indians — his maximum towards any crew. However the left-hander used to be in keep an eye on from the outset and gave the Royals their perfect get started of the younger season.
“There is a complete new Danny Duffy in the market,” Royals supervisor Mike Matheny stated. “It is simply seems like he is on a undertaking.”
The Indians performed their house opener in entrance of enthusiasts for the primary time since 2019. The introduced attendance of eight,914 —- 30% of ballpark capability used to be accepted — used to be a pleasant trade from closing season, when enthusiasts couldn’t attend because of the COVID-19 pandemic and well being and protection protocols.
“Having other people within the seats will provide you with that further spice up of adrenaline,” stated Merrifield, who hooked up for a two-run homer in the second one and added a sacrifice fly within the 7th. “Even the boos had been overlooked closing yr.”
Merrifield is the primary Royals participant to homer thrice within the first 4 video games, and his 9 RBIs within the first 4 are a membership report.
Scott Barlow pitched two best possible innings and Jesse Hahn put two on within the 9th earlier than Royals first baseman Carlos Santana, who signed with the membership as a unfastened agent this wintry weather after 10 seasons in Cleveland, made a diving forestall on Eddie Rosario’s break to begin a double play.
“I am looking to undergo in my head what number of first basemen within the league make that play, or perhaps even try to make that play,” Matheny stated. “That used to be wonderful, how one play can take the air out of the opposition. We are in a foul spot appropriate there if that ball will get via. That is a game-changing defensive play.”
Hahn then retired Franmil Reyes on a difficult comebacker that caromed off the right-hander to finish Kansas Town’s three-hit shutout and get the save.
Duffy has gained 3 of his closing 4 begins towards the Indians since shedding 8 immediately, and he is pitched 11 2/Three consecutive scoreless innings in his previous two outings as opposed to Cleveland.
“Annually is a brand new yr,” Duffy stated. “I had a stretch there the place they’d my quantity, particularly on this position. I had to determine a large number of issues, it simply took me some time.”
Merrifield hooked up for his 3rd homer in the second one inning off Indians starter Logan Allen (Zero-1), who grooved a Three-Zero pitch that Kansas Town’s 2d baseman pounced upon.
A 3-run deficit used to be an excessive amount of for the Indians, who’ve scored two runs or much less in 3 in their first 4 video games.
“We’re no longer stringing them in combination,” Indians supervisor Terry Francona stated. “We did hit some balls onerous. And I don’t ever need to communicate down our offense, as a result of that’s no longer what we’re right here for. However we’re going to have to thread some in combination.”
The closing time Cleveland performed in entrance of enthusiasts at Revolutionary Box used to be on Sept. 22, 2019, a 10-1 win over Philadelphia.
“It’s great to have other people within the stands, there’s no getting round it,” Francona stated. “I’ll revel in it extra once we’re forward at the scoreboard. The nearer we get to normalcy, the happier everyone is. No longer simply in baseball, however in all places.”
Greater than a dozen protesters amassed outdoor the ballpark to voice their displeasure on the Indians’ extend in replacing their identify. Cleveland proprietor Paul Dolan introduced in December the ballclub will probably be shedding Indians, its identify since 1915, at some point.
That is not quickly sufficient for Local American teams of have decried the identify as being racist.
“It is completely disappointing, disheartening, however no longer unexpected,” stated Jeff Pierce, president of Other folks No longer Mascots. “They have been announcing they’ll do that for the closing 30 plus years, by no means been carried out. I’m going to consider it after I see it.”
THE BEAT GOES ON
With longtime drummer and ballpark fixture John Adams improving from well being problems, Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney stuffed in and pounded a gentle beat when the Indians batted.
Carney, who first attended Cleveland video games as a bit boy, stated it used to be his first “reside” gig since Black Keys’ closing display in January 2020.
ON THE OTHER SIDE
It did not take lengthy for Santana to make a robust affect at the Royals, who signed him to a three-year, $17.five million deal.
“Simply because a child adjustments uniforms, that does not imply it is going to trade the way in which he behaves himself or acts,” Francona stated. “I indisputably cannot root for him to overcome us, however we are not any much less keen on him as a result of he is in a Royals uniform.”
Following an off day, Cy Younger winner Shane Bieber will make his 2d get started of 2021 towards the Royals, who’ve no longer but introduced a starter. Bieber struck out 12 in his season debut closing week at Detroit.
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