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DET@KC: Duffy allows one run through four

Danny Duffy is looking for another chance.

After losing the battle for the fifth spot in the rotation in Spring Training, Duffy has temporarily worked his way back into the rotation due to an injury to Bruce Chen.

Duffy looks to cement his role as a starter on Saturday when he faces the Orioles' Bud Norris in the third of a four-game set at Kauffman Stadium.

Duffy's hands will be full with a Baltimore offense that's particularly strong in the middle of the order. Nelson Cruz has 12 home runs this season, and Chris Davis led the league with 53 homers in 2013. A disabled list stint slowed Davis' power production this season, but he launched a solo shot in the O's 4-0 win on Friday.

"It's a strong lineup, they all hit the ball, it seems like they do really well against harder throwers too, they just let the ball travel and don't try to do too much," Duffy said. "But if I stay on the attack and execute all my pitches, I think I'm pretty confident going forward."

Duffy made his move from the bullpen to the starting rotation on May 3 against the Tigers, reaching his pitch count of 75 in four innings. The southpaw allowed one run, but as often is the case with the erratic Duffy, walks hurt him. He issued four free passes.

Duffy's most recent start was more encouraging -- going six innings and allowing one run, two hits and four walks in Kansas City's 1-0 loss at Seattle on May 8. The best sign for Duffy: he only needed 88 pitches to complete six innings.

"Efficiency-wise last time, I was really good," Duffy said. "My biggest letdown in my career has been the amount of pitches I throw per inning, and I'm well aware of that."

Norris' last start ended eventfully and prematurely, as he was ejected in the eighth inning last Sunday.

The right-hander plunked Detroit outfielder Torii Hunter after allowing a pair of runs in the eighth. Hunter took exception, a heated argument ensued, and Norris was eventually tossed.

Norris enters Saturday with a 3.98 ERA in seven starts.

Royals: Yost compares defenses
When asked about the Orioles' defense, Royals manager Ned Yost offered up a comparison: his own team.

"Their athleticism, the way that they cover ground, their consistency of their fielders," Yost said. "I think that [third baseman Manny] Machado is one of the great defenders in the American League, [shortstop] J.J. Hardy is as solid as a rock out there. Their outfield is athletic and can run and cover ground. Their catcher [Matt Wieters, who is on the DL], like our catcher, is a former Gold Glove winner. So, I think they're very comparable."

The Royals offer a solid left side of the infield as well in Alcides Escobar at short and Mike Moustakas at third. Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Nori Aoki all profile as plus defenders in the outfield.

One of the Royals' best defenders is catcher Salvador Perez.

Orioles: Thriving in one-run games
Two years ago, the Orioles' improbable run from perennial AL East cellar dwellers to Wild Card winners was partially predicated on their success in one-run games. That season, they finished the year an absurd 29-9 in games decided by a run.

Baltimore is thriving in a similar manner this season, as it leads the Majors with a 10-3 record in one-run games.

"Oh, I hope we're not going to do that again," manager Buck Showalter said. "I'm OK with a nice 8-1 [win]."

The AL East-leading Orioles most recently snagged a one-run win from the Royals on Thursday night, 2-1.

Worth noting
• Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop will make his return to the lineup on Saturday after sitting out with a bruised right index finger.

• Nori Aoki broke his longest slump at Kauffman Stadium this season (0-for-10) with a leadoff double on Friday.

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