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KC@MIN: Duffy fans seven over 6 2/3 scoreless frames

Felix Hernandez will try to bounce back from one of the worst starts of his career when he takes the hill at Kauffman Stadium in Monday's series opener against the Royals. Hernandez went three-plus innings against the Rangers in his last outing, giving up 11 hits and nine runs (eight earned).

"I just think he wasn't sharp," manager Eric Wedge said on Sunday. "He wasn't throwing the ball the way he normally throws it. He was missing spots, his pitches weren't as sharp as before, he wasn't on line as much as he normally is. There were a number of things that contributed to that, but he had a real good work day [on Saturday]. So I look for him to come back [on Monday]."

After an outstanding start to the season, Hernandez is 1-4 with a 7.00 ERA over his last five starts to put him at 12-8 with a 2.97 ERA for the year.

To get on the right track, Hernandez will have to fend off a Kansas City team with its back against the wall. The Royals, who entered Sunday 6 1/2 games behind in the American League Wild Card race, will need a stellar September if they hope to play in October.

The Royals have had an up-and-down second half -- going on a 21-7 run following the All-Star break, before suffering a seven-game losing streak. After going 4-2 on their recent road trip, Kansas City has won six of its last eight games.

Danny Duffy will take the mound for Seattle in his second game since replacing the struggling Davis in the Royals' rotation. The lefty is riding a string of 12 2/3 scoreless innings entering his first career start against the Mariners.

The 24-year-old is making his fourth Major League start of the year, as he returns from Tommy John surgery.

Mariners: Wedge hopes run support comes with experience
Wedge said on Sunday he thinks carrying so much of the load for a young club that doesn't always offer a lot of run support might be catching up to Hernandez.

The Mariners have called up young players like Nick Franklin, Brad Miller, and Mike Zunino, and they provided a jolt to the offense that made Seattle one of the highest-scoring clubs in the Majors during August. However, an injury to Zunino and a recent slump by Franklin have contributed to the club's recent struggles at the plate.

"I think once we finally get to the point where we can count on more consistency offensively, it's going to help Felix," said Wedge. "It's going to help a lot of these guys. Because it's a [heck] of a thing to carry [when] you feel like you have to go out there and only give up one or two runs to have a chance to win. When that happens, you're going to have days when you let your guard down and you're human."

Royals: Davis will join the team on Tuesday
Right-hander Wade Davis will be recalled for Tuesday's game against the Mariners, manager Ned Yost said on Sunday. Davis struggled as a starter early in the year, going 6-10 with a 5.67 ERA.

"He had some struggles, but he also had some very good games," said Yost. "Transitioning again from starter to reliever, I think he learned a lot. It's just getting consistent and having a solid approach every time he goes out."

Worth noting
• Kansas City has given up just seven earned runs in its past seven games.

• Seattle has hit 157 home runs so far this season, eight more than it hit last season.

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