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Royals' Duffy looks to maintain stellar record at Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Kansas City left-hander Danny Duffy has lost back-to-back starts, but history indicates he will have a good chance to get back on track Wednesday afternoon in the finale of the Royals' three-game series against the Oakland Athletics.

Duffy is 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA in six career games, including five starts, against the Athletics. All three of those wins came at the Coliseum, where he has a 2.33 career ERA in four games (three starts).

Duffy is one of three active players with a perfect record and a sub-3.00 ERA against Oakland in at least five starts, along with Miami's Wei-Yin Chen (5-0, 2.30) and Baltimore's Chris Tillman (4-0, 2.51). Just don't expect Duffy to let his past success lead to overconfidence.

"I've done well here, but it's in the past," Duffy said. "Everything that's happened in the past is over. This is a brand new (A's) team. They've got a good squad. You just try to keep doing what got you here. Keep it simple."

The A's evened the series 1-1 with a wild 10-8 victory Tuesday night. After giving up five runs and homers to Drew Butera, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas in the top of the eighth and falling behind 8-4, the A's scored six times in the bottom of the frame.

Duffy will face a young, rebuilding A's team that typically has four or five rookie position players in the lineup. The book on each of those young players isn't very thick.

"I think you just stick to your strengths in those situations," Duffy said. "We've all gone through it where we've gotten up here and people didn't know you very well. You do well against people who have really good resumes. Then they figure you out. I just feel if I stick to my strengths and don't change anything, more (often) than not, I'm going to do well."

Duffy is 7-8 with a 3.68 ERA this year. During a major league season in which the ball is flying out of parks at an alarming rate, Duffy has allowed only 10 home runs in 120 innings. In 14 of his 19 starts, he has not given up a home run.

Royals right-hander Jason Hammel served up a season-high three home runs Tuesday night, a two-run shot to Khris Davis and solo blasts to Matt Joyce and Matt Olson. Joyce added a three-run double in the eighth.

This marks the fourth straight series the A's have had against teams in contention for the playoffs. Their next eight series will be against playoff contenders, too. They split a four-game series with the Orioles in their previous series and have a chance to take two of three from Kansas City.

"I think it's great for our younger guys here," A's manager Bob Melviin said. "These guys, Baltimore, who we just played, Seattle, (the Los Angeles Angels), they're all in (playoff races). So it's really good for them to play in this type of atmosphere, and especially when you have some success, you feel that much better about yourself at the big league level."

A's rookie right-hander Paul Blackburn has had plenty of success in his first eight major league starts ahead of his Wednesday outing against the Royals.

Blackburn (3-1, 3.02 ERA) has pitched at least 5 1/3 innings in every start and at least six innings six times. He is the second pitcher in Oakland history to throw more than five innings in each of his first eight career starts, joining Willie Adams, who had a 10-game streak to open his career in 1996.

Blackburn lasted 5 2/3 innings in his last start, despite allowing 10 hits and four runs against Baltimore. The A's rallied for a 5-4 win, and Blackburn got a no-decision.

"Having that as kind of your line for the night with not your best stuff -- my stuff was up all night -- just keeping us in the ballgame I think was good," Blackburn said. "We were able to come back and get the win. There's a lot of positives you can take away from games like that."

Blackburn said he worked on "some mechanical stuff" in between starts and believes he will have better command of his pitches Wednesday.

"Kind of got back to feeling right and driving the ball down instead of letting it leak up," Blackburn said. "I feel good."

Blackburn will face Kansas City for the first time in his career.

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