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03/09/12 8:18 PM ET

Throwing strikes pays off big for Duffy

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Catcher Salvador Perez, in a kidding mood, had a reason ready for left-hander Danny Duffy's spectacular spring debut for the Royals on Friday against the Reds.

"He never shook me off, that's why he threw good," Perez said, laughing.

Whatever signal Perez put down, Duffy delivered and finished his perfect two-inning stint with five straight strikeouts. After Drew Stubbs led off by flying out, the Reds couldn't even get a loud foul and Duffy fanned Willie Harris, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Scott Rolen and Donald Lutz.

"I just feel like my hard work in the offseason is going to continue to give me success. I know I'll hit bumps along the way, but I'm going to continue what I'm doing," Duffy said. "It's early and there's a huge competition for that fourth and fifth spot."

Duffy came into camp charged with throwing strikes and keeping the ball down. He certainly did that Friday.

"The main goal is getting that pitch efficiency up and I need to get the ball down and repeat my delivery a lot more. It's the whole cliche thing, but it's true. And I feel like I worked enough in the offseason to find a delivery that was comfortable for me," he said.

Duffy, who made 20 starts last year for the Royals and was 4-8, even tried a new wrinkle with a cut fastball he learned last year from former pitching coach Bob McClure.

"I threw everything. I even mixed in a couple cutters, which was nice because I wondering how that would play into a game. It feels really good but we've got a long way to go," Duffy said. "This pitching staff is just firing with really good arms. I'm really excited for what's to come."

The cutter, he explained, is harder than a slider, breaks about 4 to 6 inches and goes downward. Votto struck out on one.

"Oh my God, unbelievable," Perez said of Duffy's outing. "He was really good today. He threw the ball down, every pitch for a strike."

Mazzaro hits bump at end of outing vs. Reds

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Right-hander Vin Mazzaro, the Royals' second pitcher Friday, came close to emulating Danny Duffy's perfect performance. But after Mazzaro retired the first five batters he faced, things got imperfect and he gave up four hits and four runs that sent the Reds toward a 5-1 victory.

Joey Votto singled with two outs in the fourth, and Jay Bruce's ground ball hit the umpire for a single and eliminated the chance for an easy third out. Scott Rolen singled for one RBI and Donald Lutz hammered a three-run homer to center field.

"If the umpire gets out of the way, he gets out of the inning real clean," manager Ned Yost said. "But Vinny was doing the same thing Danny was, executing his pitches, kept the ball down, real live stuff. Hung a pitch to Rolen and then got another pitch up. But up to that point, he was dynamic, too."

Left-hander Chris Dwyer struggled in his one inning of work and gave up a run. Lefty Will Smith pitched two scoreless innings and Greg Holland worked a scoreless eighth.

"Holland was lights-out again; Holland was very good," Yost said.

Soria plans adjustments after video work

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Closer Joakim Soria is scheduled to make his second outing Saturday against the Rockies after a session in the video room with pitching coach Dave Eiland.

Last Tuesday against the Padres, Soria worked one inning and gave up two hits and a run but ended it by getting a double-play grounder.

"Dave and Jack got on the video for about an hour and really scoured over video, side-by-side videos of 2009 and now," manager Ned Yost said. "And the adjustments he needs to make are very slight. The arm swing, arm path is exactly the same, so I'm anxious to see Jack his next time out. We're real close to getting him to where he needs to be, which is real important to us."

Soria noted that he hadn't thrown competitively since Sept. 11 because he sat out the rest of the season with a minor hamstring strain. So it was no surprise that he's a bit rusty, but he and Eiland worked on making some refinements.

"We're working on it and there's not much to do," Soria said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.