A Wednesday night that initially focused on Danny Duffy’s return to the big leagues turned into a statement performance by the Royals’ bullpen in a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Duffy lasted just 32/3 innings in his first big-league appearance since leaving a May 13 2012 game in Chicago because of elbow pain later diagnosed as a torn ligament. That led to Tommy John surgery.

Once Duffy exited the Royals turned to their bullpen and got 51/3 scoreless innings from Louis Coleman Tim Collins Aaron Crow Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland while their attack rallied for the victory.

The best bullpen in the league?

“Yeah and I feel we’re just now really clicking as a whole unit” Holland said. “We’ve been good all year but we’ve got guys who can be really dominant. It showed today.”

Wednesday’s performance lowered the unit’s ERA to 2.80 and that — look it up — is the best in the American League.

“One guy does well” Crow said “everyone else wants to do well too. Duffy had a high pitch count so we knew a lot of guys were going to get used. I think everyone was ready to go.”

Holland worked the ninth inning for his 30th save including his 23rd straight successful conversion. Coleman 2-0 got the victory after stretching his season-long scoreless streak to 161/3 innings.

The Royals did enough at the plate too in rallying from a 2-1 deficit against Minnesota starter Sam Deduno who had dominated them in his brief career — allowing just two earned runs in 191/3 previous innings.

“He’s had our number” designated hitter Billy Butler said. “He’s got a lot of movement on his ball but we made him come into the zone. If he was going to get us out get us out in the zone.

“We just made him work and he had a lot of stressful innings.”

The Royals nicked Deduno 7-5 for four runs and 12 hits in 52/3 innings.

Alex Gordon tied the game with a lead-off homer in the fourth before Alcides Escobar capped an two-out rally later in the inning with an RBI single. Lorenzo Cain added an RBI single in the fifth.

Butler and Gordon produced the final run by hitting successive one-out doubles in the seventh against reliever Caleb Thielbar.

The victory represented a bounce-back effort for the Royals after Tuesday’s 7-0 loss. It was also their 15th victory in 19 games since the All-Star break and boosted their record to 58-53.

Manager Ned Yost said he anticipated the possibility of a long night for the bullpen because Duffy even prior to his injury had a history of running up his pitch count early in games.

Specifically Yost said he rode James Shields for six innings in Tuesday’s blowout loss in order to protect his relief corps.

“I wanted to have a fresh bullpen knowing that this might be a possibility” Yost said “and that we could protect a one- or two-run lead from the fourth or fifth inning on. That’s exactly what happened.”