BALTIMORE -- Royals right-hander Kevin McCarthy was inches from a 1-2-3 eighth inning before a sinking two-seamer to Manny Machado resulted in a soft-contact infield single.Two batters later, McCarthy left a two-seamer up and over the plate to Mark Trumbo, who ripped a two-run single to center, handing the Royals
BALTIMORE -- Royals right-hander Kevin McCarthy was inches from a 1-2-3 eighth inning before a sinking two-seamer to Manny Machado resulted in a soft-contact infield single.
Two batters later, McCarthy left a two-seamer up and over the plate to Mark Trumbo, who ripped a two-run single to center, handing the Royals a 5-3 loss to the Orioles on Wednesday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Royals manager Ned Yost preferred the matchup of McCarthy's two-seamer over loading the bases for left-hander Tim Hill to face Chris Davis, who homered earlier in the game.
"I'm not bringing in Hill there with the bases loaded [on purpose]," Yost said. "I do like McCarthy's sinker/slider against Trumbo. He tried to go inside with a fastball and didn't locate in.
"You have to pitch Trumbo carefully there. I'm not saying you intentionally walk him there, but if it happens, then I go get Timmy for Davis. I felt good with Kevin out there."
McCarthy knows he made a good pitch to Machado that could have gotten him out of the inning before Jonathan Schoop doubled and Trumbo singled.
"That's baseball," McCarthy said. "But I tried to go in to Trumbo, and it just stayed middle."
Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning, his fourth of the season and first since April 17 in Toronto. Duda added an RBI single in the sixth.
Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund delivered his second quality start of the season, going 6 1/3 innings and giving up three runs. He allowed five hits, walked one and struck out three.
The only mistake that truly hurt Skoglund was a 2-2 four-seam fastball to Davis in the fourth inning. Davis lined it over the left-field wall for a three-run homer.
"I just think I made one pitch that was a mistake and it was obviously punished," Skoglund said. "That's Chris Davis. It's his job."
Royals center fielder Abraham Almonte left the game in the bottom of the sixth with what the club said was an "illness."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Royals were in danger of giving up a big inning in the fifth when Craig Gentry led off with a walk and sped to third on a hit-and-run single from Caleb Joseph. But Skoglund then made two of his best pitches of the night. First, Skoglund got Trey Mancini to whiff on a 2-2 curveball in the dirt. On the very next pitch, Skoglund threw a changeup down and in to Adam Jones, who rolled into a 6-4-3 double play, ending the threat.
"It was my best curveball of the night," Skoglund said. "Changeup, too. I needed that."
HE SAID IT
"We liked the way our bullpen set up. We had enough arms there to play for the tie. But Esky couldn't get the bunt down. But then the big steal still put us in the same position we wanted to be in with Jonathan Jay at the plate, but they just pitched Jon tough." -- Yost, on why he had Alcides Escobar bunting in the ninth with two on and none out
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Royals got the tying run on base in the ninth thanks to another successful challenge from replay specialist Bill Duplissea. After Whit Merrifield led off with a walk, Alex Gordon hit a sharp grounder to third. The throw to Schoop at second base was dropped. The play was originally ruled a forceout but quickly overturned on the Royals' challenge. Duplissea is now 11-for-11 in challenges this year, the only perfect mark in the Majors.
Right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-3, 2.92 ERA) will take the mound for the Royals in the series finale at 6:05 p.m. CT on Thursday. Right-hander Chris Tillman (1-5, 9.24 ERA) will pitch for the Orioles. Kennedy tossed six scoreless innings last Friday against the Tigers in a 4-2 win, though he got a no-decision. Kennedy gave up six hits and struck out seven.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.