The Kanas City Royals scored more runs in Sunday’s four game finale against the Baltimore Orioles, winning 8-6, than they had in the previous three games combined, earning a split with the Birds from Baltimore at Kauffman Stadium.
After scoring only one run in the first two games of the series, both losses, 2-1 and 4-0, the Royals came back over the weekend handing the O’s their own shutout on Saturday while winning 1-0.
The hero of Sunday’s game was Royal Alex Gordon who had a pair of three-run homers, one in the fifth inning and one in the seventh. Trailing 8-3, Baltimore came back thanks to centerfielder Adam Jones who belted his own three-run homer in the ninth but that is where the rally ended for the Orioles.
James Shields earned the win for KC while improving to 6-3. He lasted seven innings, striking out three while walking one. He now has a 2.67 E.R.A.
Ubaldo Jimenez, who had been 2-0 in May, took the loss. He is now 2-5 with a 4.50 E.R.A. He lasted only five innings, striking out seven while walking one batter.
Thursday’s contest was won by Baltimore 2-1, on the strength of a Nelson Cruz two-run home run. The real news of the game was who closed out the game. Closer Tommy Hunter has been struggling lately, so lefty Zach Britton was given a chance to close out the game and he did not disappoint. He had a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his first career save.
The pitching gem of the series occurred on Friday night as Oriole ace Chris Tillman recorded the first complete game shutout of his career, winning 4-0. He hurled 117 pitches, 77 for strikes while improving to 4-2 for the season. He had three strikeouts and one walk while ending the game with a respectable 3.34 E.R.A.
Tillman beat ex-Oriole Jeremy Guthrie (2-3) who lasted eight innings himself. He struck out two while allowing one walk. He now has a 4.76 E.R.A.
The Orioles offense was again led by Cruz who went 2-3 with two RBI. Slugger Chris Davis added a solo homer in the eighth inning, his third of the year. This from the man who led all of baseball last year with an Oriole team record 53 home runs.
Baltimore left Kanas City with a (22-20) record, while the Royals now stand at (22-21). Both teams are in second place in their respective divisions. Baltimore is doing a bit better, trailing the New York Yankees (23-20) by one game in the Eastern division race. The Royals are six and a half games behind the Central leading Detroit Tigers (26-12) who boast the best record in baseball.