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KC@OAK: Duffy strikes out eight over six scoreless

After suffering a loss against a 21-year-old pitcher making his Major League debut on Saturday, the Royals will now be tasked with facing the Blue Jays' ace in Ricky Romero as they continue to look for their first home victory.

Starting with Sunday afternoon's contest, the Royals -- 0-8 at home so far -- have just two more chances to notch a win at Kauffman Stadium in the month of April. Following Monday's series finale with Toronto, Kansas City will embark on a nine-game road trip and won't return home until May 3.

"Not much going right for us now in those situations. Can't really catch a break," Royals manager Ned Yost said after Friday's series-opening loss in which the Royals were victims of the rare triple play. "We've got to get a little bit of momentum going somewhere, but sometimes you've got to go out and grab the momentum, and we haven't been able to do it in the last week or so."

Not only did the Royals extend their overall losing streak to nine games with Saturday's 9-5 loss, but they also tied a franchise record by losing their ninth straight at home, dating to last season. Despite the Royals being stuck in a rut, Romero isn't necessarily looking forward to facing a lineup that he believes is just waiting to explode.

"These guys are young. They swing it really good," Romero said. "Obviously, it's a really, really good lineup. For me, I've just got to continue to stay aggressive and throw strikes. I think when I fall into trouble it's when I start falling behind in counts, start walking guys, stuff like that.

"So just go out there and be aggressive and let my defense work."

That strategy has worked for the southpaw so far, as Romero has jumped out to a 2-0 start despite a mediocre 3.72 ERA. In his last start, Romero limited the Rays to three runs despite allowing eight hits and issuing three weeks in six innings.

"You just don't panic, you just continue to make pitches," Romero said after winning that last outing. "The good pitchers in this game find a way to win and find ways to come out on top. That's what I went out there and did -- just give the team a chance to win, let the defense work and make good pitches when needed."

Blue Jays: Perez providing stability in 'pen
The Blue Jays have needed their bullpen more this season than ever before -- literally. Following Saturday's victory, Toronto pitchers had already tossed a franchise-record 135 innings through 14 games.

It's been an adventure at times -- Toronto has allowed 19 ninth-inning runs, by far the most in the Majors -- but there has been one constant in the bullpen for manager John Farrell. Left-hander Luis Perez has been a pleasant surprise this season, recording 12 strikeouts over his 10 scoreless innings.

"He's been outstanding," Farrell said. "There's a lot of confidence to bring him into a situation no matter who's on base or what the score is or the inning."

Royals: Holland lands on disabled list
As it turns out, squandering an eighth-inning lead by giving up three runs without recording an out wasn't the worst thing that happened to Greg Holland on Friday night.

Following the rough outing, Holland underwent an MRI that revealed a left rib stress reaction, placing the right-hander on the disabled list. Right-hander Jeremy Jeffress was recalled from Triple-A Omaha.

"The MRI is showing some stress over the course of the rib where the scapula comes down and bangs into it," head athletic trainer Nick Kenney said. "So it's not showing us a fracture on MRI, but we're going to get a bone scan to rule that out."

There is no timetable for Holland's return and right-hander Aaron Crow will assume Holland's role as the Royals' eighth-inning setup man in the interim.

Worth noting
• With Saturday's victory, Hutchison became the 12th Blue Jays starter, and first since Ricky Romero in 2009, to win his Major League debut.

• The Royals have not had a comeback victory yet this season. They scored first and maintained the lead in each of their three victories.

• Kansas City is just 8-for-40 (.200) with runners in scoring position over the past five games.

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