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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — While the Kansas City Royals have been notorious slow starters in past seasons, they enter May in first place.
Danny Duffy pitched shutout ball into the eighth and Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer as the Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 8-1 on Thursday night.
The Royals lost 13 of 19 to Detroit last year to finish a game behind the Tigers, who have won the past four AL Central titles.
"We're a different team than the last time we faced them," Hosmer said. "We said it would be a good test for our team to see where we're at. It's only one game, but these games are important."
The Royals finished April with a 15-7 record, the second highest win total for the month in franchise history
"It's a great way to start the season," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I'm just pleased with everything. I'm pleased with the approach at the plate, our defense and our base running. Our bullpen has been absolutely almost unhittable for the most part all month long. Our starting rotation has done a very solid job. I'm just pleased with all phases our game right now."
Duffy gave up his first run when Rajai Davis' single scored Jose Iglesias, who led off the inning with a triple. Duffy (2-0) struck out seven and walked two, while allowing seven hits before being replaced by Jason Frasor with no outs in the eighth.
"I need to get my team innings especially right now we need to get deep into games," Duffy said. "Dave (Eiland, pitching coach) came up to me yesterday and just said I want to see seven from you tomorrow when we were in Cleveland."
Hosmer, who also homered Wednesday at Cleveland, drove an Alfredo Simon pitch to center with Mike Moustakas aboard in the Royals' three-run third. Moustakas doubled home Alex Gordon with the first run.
The Royals batted around in a five-run fifth, which included a Gordon two-run single and Kendrys Morales and Salvador Perez hitting successive RBI doubles. Christian Colon also drove in a run with a single.
Jarod Dyson had three singles as the Royals banged out 14 hits. Every Royal starter collected at least one hit.
"They've got a very athletic lineup," Tigers catcher James McCann said. "They've got speed and hitting. That's why they've got the record they've got. It's just the way they take advantage. It's what you saw last year and why they went to the World Series. They've got confidence."
Simon (4-1) had allowed five runs and 22 hits in winning his first four starts, but the Royals knocked him out after 4 1-3 innings, giving up six runs on nine hits.
"I just tried to confuse them, but these guys right now are swinging the bats well," Simon said.
BEATING THE SHIFT
With the Tigers shifting to the right side with Moustakas at the plate in the first inning, he put down a bunt just inside the third base bag for an easy single. Moustakas has four straight multi-hit games, raising his average to .356.
Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera walked in his first two plate-appearances, bringing his total to 15.
Tigers: RHP Joe Nathan underwent season-ending elbow surgery. He registered just one save this year before going on the disabled list. . RHP Justin Verlander will have his third MRI early next week in Chicago to establish how much inflammation remains in his sore right triceps. He reported no discomfort after light toss Thursday.
Royals: SS Alcides Escobar was not in the lineup with concussion-like symptoms after being hit in the cheek by a Danny Salazar pitch Wednesday in Cleveland. Escobar will be tested again Friday. . RHP Greg Holland had his second bullpen session since going on the disabled list April 18 with a pectoral strain.
Tigers: Rookie LHP Kyle Lobstein, who has held left-handed hitters to .229 average, starts the second game of this series.
Royals: RHP Chris Young makes his first start after a 1-0 record and a 1.86 ERA in five relief appearances.
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