Danny Duffy watched as Kansas City's offense was shut down in the series opener with Minnesota, something he's also grown accustomed to witnessing during his starts.
The left-hander hopes that's not the case Wednesday night against the visiting Twins as he looks to help the Royals avoid a third straight defeat.Duffy (5-10, 2.47 ERA) is the only pitcher in baseball with double-digit losses while posting an ERA below 2.50 as Kansas City (53-52) has failed to provide him with much help.His 2.47 run-support average is the worst of any pitcher to make 15 starts. In his latest, he allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings against Cleveland on Thursday before the Royals won 2-1 in 14 innings."It was one of the best starts I've had in recent memory, where I was locating so well with everything," said Duffy, who didn't allow a hit until the fifth.Duffy is 1-4 despite a 1.93 ERA in his last six outings, allowing one earned run or none five times. His only victory in that stretch came against Minnesota on June 30, when he gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings of a 6-1 win.Duffy also pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings over two April relief outings against the Twins, and he's 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA in six career appearances in this series.Whether or not he adds another victory to that mark may come down to the performance of the Royals' offense, which managed only Eric Hosmer's RBI single in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Twins."The loss is frustrating in general. It doesn't matter how it is," designated hitter Billy Butler said. "It's not fun to lose, especially in a 2-1 game like that. We should have put up more runs."Kansas City remained five games behind Detroit for the AL Central lead and is 3 1/2 back of Toronto for the second wild-card spot."Games throughout the year are huge, but obviously time is ticking down now," said Hosmer, who went 1 for 4 after not starting the previous four because of a bruised hand.While the Royals have dropped two straight following a five-game winning streak, Minnesota (48-57) has won back-to-back contests after getting RBIs from Brian Dozier and Josh Willingham in the series opener.Phil Hughes will take the mound Wednesday for the Twins, who have won six of seven on the road.Hughes (10-7, 4.10) had a 3.09 ERA through his first 14 outings, but he's gone 3-4 with a 6.31 ERA in seven starts since while giving up at least five runs five times. He allowed two through three innings against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday before leaving in the fourth after being hit on the right ankle with a comebacker.The right-hander threw his bullpen session without any problems and said he's ready to go."I'm really thankful it's not broken," Hughes said. "With the way the rotation is looking right now, I feel a responsibility to get out there and not miss any time."Hughes gave up three runs in six innings of an 8-3 win over the Royals on April 20. He's 6-2 in nine career starts against Kansas City despite a 5.89 ERA.Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia is expected to be back with the Twins after missing Tuesday's contest following the birth of his child.