The Baltimore Orioles lost their third consecutive game tonight against the Kansas City Royals. After starting the road trip with four straight wins, the O's scored just six runs in their last three games as they lost the series to the Royals. A rare poor pitching performance from starter Miguel Gonzalez contributed to the loss, but the O's quiet bats against their former teammate Jeremy Guthrie would have made it tough for a win no matter what the pitching performance.
Gonzalez started off the game with two quick outs before a weak double down the right field line by Billy Butler started a rally. It was the kind of hit that just gets past the first baseman before rolling into foul territory and which is only a double because it's going so slow that it takes the right fielder a long time to get to it. Regardless, it was trouble as the next batter, Salvador Perez, singled up the middle into center field. Adam Jones missed the cutoff man in his throw home, which might not have been so bad if he hadn't thrown the ball so hard that it bypassed catcher Matt Wieters altogether. Gonzalez was backing up and had to leap into the air to keep the ball from going beyond him as well. The throw allowed Perez to go second and he came in to score on a single by David Lough.
The Royals added another run in the second inning thanks to a double, an infield single, and a sacrifice fly. The final out of the inning came when Wieters threw out Jarrod Dyson trying to steal second. The Royals bats then quieted down for a few innings before they came back to knock Gonzalez out of the game in the fifth.
Meanwhile, the offense wasn't doing much against Guthrie. They put two on with one out in the second on a Jones walk and a single by Wieters, but both runners were stranded.
In the top of the fifth the O's finally got something going but could only score once thanks in part to a double play and a bad call by the umpire. Wieters continued his hot second-half hitting with another single, but J.J. Hardy grounded into a double play. Henry Urrutia then hit his first major-league triple, though he was given a bit of a gift due to the fact that the Royals' right fielder tried to dive to catch it and missed completely. Urrutia came in to score the O's only right of the night on a triple by Brian Roberts. With Roberts on second base, Nate McLouth hit a sinking liner to left field. Alex Gordon trapped it, but the umpire called it a catch to end the inning. Buck Showalter argued, but the rally was snuffed and at least one run was lost on the play.
If Gonzalez had been shaky through the first four innings of the game, he simply fell apart in the fifth. A triple sandwiched between two singles resulted in two more runs scored and a visit from the pitching coach. Whatever Rick Adair told him didn't work, unless what he told him was "walk the next batter." Because that's what Gonzalez did, putting Butler on first. Thankfully Perez hit into a double play to limit the damage, but that was it for Gonzalez. Troy Patton came in to pitch in relief with Eric Hosmer at third, and promptly gave up a single to David Lough that allowed Gonzalez's sixth run to come in to score. His final line: 4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 0 K.
Guthrie came out of the game after six innings but the Orioles fared no better against the Royals bullpen than they did against Guthrie.
New Oriole Francisco Rodriguez made his debut in the seventh inning and introduced himself to the Birdland faithful by serving up a bomb to Billy Butler.
It was a very disappointing second half of the road trip, and now the Orioles head home for a weekend series against the Red Sox. The Red Sox were rained out tonight so not only will they get to Baltimore ahead of time and well rested, but they're able to manipulate their rotation so that John Lackey will pitch in the series. Hopefully the O's bats will be alive starting tomorrow. They're certainly due.