OAKLAND -- Left-hander Danny Duffy loves coming to home territory and to the Oakland Coliseum.
Duffy has won five games as a Major Leaguer and three of the victories have come here, the latest by a 3-0 score over Oakland in a game called in the eighth inning on Tuesday night because of rain. Duffy held the Athletics scoreless on one hit over the first six innings.
With a sizable delegation of family and friends coming in from Lompoc, Calif., to swell a skimpy crowd, Duffy racked up eight strikeouts and issued four walks. The only hit off him was Cliff Pennington's double to right field in the third inning -- and Duffy promptly picked him off second base.
Another highlight for Duffy was Lorenzo Cain's spectacular catch in center field.
"It was a great play by Lorenzo Cain out there, and I was so hyped after that," Duffy said. "When my family's here it's really easy to be loose on the mound -- and we had about 150 people here from Santa Barbara County. So I had a great time out there. I couldn't help but smile out there a couple times. It was fun."
The play by Cain came in the second inning with one out and Collin Cowgill at first base on a walk. Daric Barton hit a long drive to center field but Cain chased it down, banged into the wall, turned and threw to Chris Getz. He relayed to first baseman Eric Hosmer for a double play.
"That play that Lorenzo Cain made, golly, I don't know how he ever caught up to the ball," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "When it was hit, he was a mile away -- and I don't know how he made the catch. But he turned around and made an accurate throw to double the runner off."
Cain later left the game with a slight left groin strain, but it's not considered a serious injury.
"That's a game-changing play," Duffy said. "Without it, we're looking at a runner on third, one run in, 2-1 game. So he just played his butt off and so did everybody else."
Duffy turned the game over to reliever Aaron Crow after throwing 103 pitches (62 strikes). He had won his first big league game at the Coliseum as a rookie last year on June 14 and won again here last Sept. 6, both by 7-4 scores.
This victory completed a run of five solid performances by the Royals' rotation. The five starters have combined for a 1.55 ERA over 29 innings.
Crow worked a perfect seventh with two strikeouts. With that and the abrupt end to the game, he was credited with his first big league save.
"It was nice, it was cool," Crow said. But he reserved his praise for Duffy: "He pitched the best I've seen him pitch in the big leagues, and I think that's a sign of what's to come for the rest of the year."
The game ended with two outs in the top of the eighth. Umpires stopped play after Hosmer struck out and the slick bat slid out of his hands and skidded toward the Royals' dugout. It was called after a wait of 1 hour, 6 minutes.
The game also began 43 minutes late because of rain. The Royals never have had a game rained out in 44 years of visiting Oakland, and the only previous recorded interruption came on April 9, 1971. Rain shortened the Royals' 5-0 loss to 5 1/2 innings.
The Royals chose the damp evening to score their first runs at night this season. They were shut out in each of their previous two night games, at Anaheim and Oakland, and the scoreless streak reached 21 innings in this game. Coincidentally, they had also gone scoreless for 25 innings, dating back to last Sept. 6, at the Coliseum.
But in the fourth, Billy Butler doubled into the left-field corner, Jeff Francoeur dumped a single into right and Mike Moustakas hit a towering drive to deep center. Yoenis Cespedes raced back and got his glove on the ball, but it trickled down his arm and fell safely for an RBI double.
Butler jogged home and Francoeur, who had to hold in case of a catch, got only to third. But Humberto Quintero's sacrifice fly to right got Francoeur home for a 2-0 lead.
Mitch Maier, who entered the game in Cain's spot, made it 3-0 with a shot over the right-field wall. That opened the seventh inning against left-hander Jerry Blevins, who had just relieved A's starter Graham Godfrey.
"I was looking fastball, and he left one up the zone and I put a good swing on it," Maier said. "Honestly, I was sitting dead-red heater there, and it was nice to get another run across for Danny the way he pitched tonight."
The homer was the first for Maier in 164 at-bats -- or since Aug. 20, 2010, when he connected off Cleveland's Tony Sipp.
But mainly this cool, drizzly night belonged to Duffy.
"If Duffy hadn't given up a dadgummed 0-2 double, they'd have had a no-hitter, right? That's how good he was," Yost said. "He was as good as you could get in your hometown."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.