KANSAS CITY -- Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer hit home runs, and Yordano Ventura pitched seven strong innings as the Royals handled the Orioles, 6-1, on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
Ventura was nicked for a run in the first, but retired 19 of the final 21 batters he faced. He gave up three hits, one run, walked two and struck out five.
Ventura has given up just six earned runs in 23 innings (2.35 ERA) and is on a roll.
"His stuff is more consistent," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's not different. It's more consistent. He's throwing more pitches in the zone which makes him very effective."
Ventura knows he is rolling.
"I'm just pitching with a lot of confidence," Ventura said through interpreter Pedro Grifol. "And I'm executing my pitches."
Orioles right-hander Mike Wright gave up just two runs on the homers through six. But he weakened in the seventh and wound up giving up eight hits and five runs in 6 ⅓ innings.
"I thought he pitched well the whole time," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Wright. "The key to the game was that we had two infield hits and a couple others. That's it. We hit a couple balls hard and Mike did his part. He was good. I loved the fact that [he] walked [none]. … That's a quality start for us. We had four guys we weren't going to use in the bullpen today. We needed that from Mike. We just didn't do much offensively."
The Orioles' Manny Machado's 16-game hitting streak ended.
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One aided, one rocked: Gordon's ball to left field was a floating fly that the 21-mph wind to left most certainly benefited. The ball just sneaked over the fence in the left-field corner near the 330-foot sign. Hosmer's shot was a rocket into the right-field seats, a low line drive that was too low for the gale wind to knock down. Hosmer earlier extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
"Gordo just hit it to the right part of the ballpark," Yost said.
Baltimore's bats silenced: A lethal Oriole lineup couldn't muster much off Ventura. After a first-inning run,on singles by Mark Trumbo and Adam Jones, the O's recorded just one more hit off Ventura. Baltimore didn't have an extra-base hit all afternoon.
"As soon as we felt some life he was able to shut the door," Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph said of Ventura, who had a 28-pitch first inning. "Had some opportunities and just couldn't pull it through. He pitched just a little bit better than our guy. More times than not we like our chances in those scenarios. We just ran into a really good performance by their guy."
Super Subs come through: Backup middle infielder Christian Colon and backup catcher Drew Butera rarely get a chance to crack the lineup. They got that chance Sunday and helped blow it open in the four-run seventh. Colon ripped a run-scoring double into the left-field corner to plate Gordon, giving the Royals a 3-1 lead. Later, Butera, who had doubled in the third, dropped an RBI double into right-center and the Royals were comfortably up 4-1.
"It's important to have guys off the bench contribute," Yost said. "We have to be able to spell (Salvador Perez) and Omar (Infante)." More >
A good outing gone awry: Wright looked in line to have another quality outing, limiting the Royals to a pair of solo homers through six innings. But things fell apart in the seventh, as he surrendered a single and pair of RBI doubles to watch the Royals add to their lead. Right-hander Dylan Bundy allowed two hits to follow, pushing Wright's line to five earned runs over 6 1/3 innings.
"I felt like the end of the last game I pitched really fed into this one. I pitched pretty similar. I had my fastball today, it felt a lot better than it did last game," Wright said. "But still I think I worked my changeup really well, worked my slider really well, changed speed a lot. I felt really good today. It sucks to come out with an 'L' after feeling pretty good." More >
"It's a lot of work and we take it very seriously. We start charting our boards of players around the league about the first week of May."-- Royals manager Ned Yost, the American League All-Star manager again, on his selection duties.
""You are going to throw a lot less pitches if they are aggressive and you are aggressive with good stuff. I attacked them, didn't fall behind in too many counts. I tried to take it to them just like they tried to take it to me. Ultimately they came out on top." -- Wright of his approach against Kansas City.
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The Orioles rotation has a 5.32 ERA in 17 games, a mark that puts them among the worst in the American League. They've averaged five innings a start, pitching 86 1/3 innings total and allowing 95 hits.
After Jarrod Dyson beat out an infield single to start the bottom of the fifth inning, he subsequently stole second base. But the O's challenged the close play and it was reversed, with second baseman Jonathan Schoop laying down the tag first. The review, which took 59 seconds, erased the go-ahead run from being in scoring position with no outs.
Orioles: Baltimore will travel to Tampa Bay to cap its road trip with a three-game series against the Rays. Kevin Gausman on Monday will make his season debut and be activated off the disabled list. The righty had been dealing with shoulder tendinitis. He will face Rays righty Chris Archer in the 7:10 p.m. ET matchup.
Royals: The Royals are off to Anaheim to start a three-game set with the Angels, starting Monday at 9:05 p.m. CT. Right-hander Ian Kennedy (2-1, 1.35 ERA) takes the hill for the Royals.
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