LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. -- Danny Duffy put together an impressive performance Wednesday, even if most of the batters he faced were minor leaguers.
Duffy struck out seven in three perfect innings, helping the Kansas City Royals to a 7-6 victory over the San Diego Padres in the spring finale for each team.The 23-year-old left-hander is one of Kansas City's top prospects."I don't care who it was against, he looked like the quality pitcher we think he is," manager Ned Yost said. "He was phenomenal. He was banging pitches down in the zone, had tremendous stuff."I think you're going to see some brilliance. He's so much better now than a year ago."Terry Evans and Mario Sisson hit consecutive homers in the sixth inning for the Royals.Fill-in starter Matt Palmer pitched four solid innings for the Padres, yielding two hits and unearned run.Palmer subbed for Tim Stauffer, who has a strained triceps. The right-hander, who has appeared in 60 games in parts of four major league seasons, got up at 4 a.m. for a light to Phoenix. After a long layover, he flew into California and took a cab to Lake Elsinore, the home of one of San Diego's Class-A affiliates."It was a $120 cab ride to the ballpark, and I asked the driver to stop at a sandwich shop. He said he had a great place." Palmer said. "It turned out to be a Mexican place. So I got two tacos and we were on our way."Palmer signed with the Padres as a free agent in December and had a decent chance to make the club. But he pulled a hamstring three weeks into camp and was optioned to Triple-A Tucson.He struck out two and walked one against Kansas City."It wasn't an ordeal getting here, but it was a long process," Palmer said. "The biggest thing was that I showed the coaches on the major league side what I can do. I showed them I have some intensity, that my arm is strong, and that I'm healthy."I'm glad they gave me this opportunity, even if it was a long way to go."Minor league catcher Eddy Rodriguez hit a solo homer for the Padres in the seventh.The Padres host the Los Angeles Dodgers in their first regular-season game on Thursday.The Royals open the season Friday night at the Los Angeles Angels.