BALTIMORE -- Craig Gentry served a soft, two-out, ninth-inning single to center off reliever Joakim Soria, scoring Caleb Joseph, as the Orioles walked off against the Royals, 2-1, Monday night at Camden Yards."It has been a battle, a big grind, not only this year but the last few years," Gentry
BALTIMORE -- Craig Gentry served a soft, two-out, ninth-inning single to center off reliever Joakim Soria, scoring Caleb Joseph, as the Orioles walked off against the Royals, 2-1, Monday night at Camden Yards.
"It has been a battle, a big grind, not only this year but the last few years," Gentry said. "And to come out here, and something like this happens to me, it's pretty amazing."
The Royals remained two games behind the American League Central-leading Indians, while the O's moved to 4 1/2 games back of Kansas City for the second AL Wild Card.
The Royals, who came into the game having won 10 of 11, were quieted by Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who turned in his second straight strong outing. Jimenez gave up two hits over six innings in his last start, and this time, he gave up one run and five hits over seven innings while striking out six.
"He was tough," Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. "His two-seamer is really good. He changed pitches really well. Slider, changeup, splitter -- he's got, like, eight pitches it seems."
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy also went seven innings, giving up seven hits and one run while striking out six.
"It was well-pitched by both sides," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "That's what it was. It wasn't that our offense was off. Give credit to their pitcher."
Orioles closer Zach Britton, the talk of many trade rumors on Monday, pitched for a third consecutive day and picked up the win.
"I think there was a period where I was like, 'OK, this is where I'm going to stay.' I can relax and just pitch well and help this team win and get to the postseason. The thought of going somewhere else was completely done," Britton said of the relief of watching the 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline come and go. "It just got rid of maybe some of the awkwardness that I felt like was in the clubhouse before it was over. Everyone just got back to normal."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Timely hit: The Orioles, trailing 1-0, tied the game with a two-out rally in the fifth. Third baseman Manny Machado got his second double of the night, drilling a pitch into the right-field corner. Duffy got ahead of Jonathan Schoop, 0-2, but Duffy then tried to bury a changeup. Schoop reached down and poked the ankle-high pitch to center and the soft single easily scored Machado.
Oppo knock: The Royals took a first-inning lead when Cain ripped a one-out double to center and then stole third. Eric Hosmer worked the count to 3-2 before driving a line-drive double down the left-field line, scoring Cain.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With Monday's victory, Orioles manager Buck Showalter earned his 1,480th career managerial win, tying Hall of Famer Earl Weaver for 24th all-time.
"I hadn't thought about it that much. My first reaction is that it's a little bittersweet because of the reverence that me, our city, our organization has for Earl," Showalter said. "He did it, I'm sure, I haven't looked at it, in less seasons, less whatever. I think we'd all love to have the things that he's accomplished. I actually find it a little bittersweet on the other side, I think because … I don't think anything is going to change how people revere him and what he accomplished here in Baltimore."
TO THE WALL
Cain made a superb catch on a deep drive by Chris Davis in the second inning in deep left-center, perhaps robbing Davis of a two-run home run. Cain got to the wall and with a leap, grabbed Davis' drive -- Statcast™ projected it had an 89 percent hit probability.
"It definitely would have been a homer," Cain said. "The walls aren't very high. I didn't have to jump much."
Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy (4-6, 4.43 ERA) takes the mound in the second game of the three-game series against the O's on Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. CT. Kennedy went six innings and gave up three hits and one run to the Tigers in a 16-2 win last Wednesday.
Orioles: The O's will send Dylan Bundy (9-8, 4.53 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. ET. The Orioles' ace all season, Bundy allowed seven earned runs against Houston in his last outing, and he posted an 8.41 ERA in four July starts. He'll look to get back on track against the Royals.
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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.