Zach Britton is having an outstanding start to his major league career with the Baltimore Orioles. The Kansas City Royals are hoping for similar things from rookie Danny Duffy.
The talented left-handers will take the mound when the Royals and Orioles open a three-game series at Camden Yards on Tuesday night.
Kansas City called up Duffy (0-0, 4.50 ERA) last week to take the rotation spot of the injured Kyle Davies. Duffy allowed two runs, four hits and six walks over four-plus innings in his major league debut at home against Texas on Wednesday, a 5-4 loss in 11 innings.
"I thought he threw the ball great," manager Ned Yost told the Royals' official website. "His pitch count got way up, but stuff-wise, he was very impressive and very encouraging."
Duffy, one of the Royals' top prospects, took a leave of absence from the organization in March 2010 to handle unspecified personal issues and believed at one point he wouldn't play again.
"I was amped, I was really excited," the 22-year-old said. "I know I kept us in there tonight, but I want to get us over the top next time."
Duffy won't have much room for error against Britton (5-2, 2.14), who has allowed one earned run or less in six of nine starts and is 3-1 with a 1.54 ERA in six outings at home.
The 23-year-old, who is tied for the team lead in wins and ranks among the leaders in the majors in ERA, allowed one unearned run in seven innings of a 4-1, 15-inning loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday. He's gone 19 1-3 consecutive innings without yielding an earned run.
This will be his first time facing the Royals, who took two of three from Baltimore (21-24) in Kansas City from May 3-5. Melky Cabrera led the way by going 5 for 13 with a home run, two doubles and six RBIs in the series, while Jeff Francoeur homered twice in 11 at-bats.
The Royals (22-24) have won only one series since facing the Orioles and have lost seven of nine. They dropped the final two games of a weekend set against St. Louis, falling 9-8 in 10 innings Sunday.
Kansas City walked 13, including two with the bases loaded in the 10th after rallying from a 7-1 deficit to tie the game in the seventh.
"We showed a lot of heart battling back and we came close to pulling it out," Yost said. "We just couldn't get over the hump."
Kansas City's pitchers weren't the only ones who had a rough afternoon. Rookie first baseman Eric Hosmer went 0 for 5 and committed an error in the fourth that allowed a run to score. The Royals had gone a team-record 106 consecutive innings without an error before his miscue.
Baltimore is looking to win its third straight after Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning of a 2-1 victory over Washington on Sunday.
Guerrero is hitting .444 with five doubles and six RBIs over the last eight games. He played in two of the contests in Kansas City earlier this month, going 1 for 7 with two walks.