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Kennedy can't slow O's after Royals' fast start

Right-hander allows 9 runs over 4 innings following Salvy's slam
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

BALTIMORE -- On a Thursday night that started so promising for the Royals when catcher Salvador Perez ripped a first-inning grand slam, they simply couldn't contain the Orioles.

The Royals gave up four-run and three-run leads en route to an 11-6 loss in the rubber game at Camden Yards.

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BALTIMORE -- On a Thursday night that started so promising for the Royals when catcher Salvador Perez ripped a first-inning grand slam, they simply couldn't contain the Orioles.

The Royals gave up four-run and three-run leads en route to an 11-6 loss in the rubber game at Camden Yards.

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Royals starter Ian Kennedy struggled from the onset, giving up nine runs over four innings -- the most runs he has allowed since signing with the club in 2016. Kennedy gave up eight hits, including three home runs. His ERA spiked from 2.92 to 4.61.

Video: KC@BAL: Perez celebrates birthday with a grand slam

"You get the Salvy grand slam and the big first inning, and you think, 'Here we go,'" manager Ned Yost said. "But it was a bit of a wait [for Kennedy] while we were creating some offense. Ian goes out and gives up three, and I had the mindset to just get through that and then he'd settle down.

"Then he goes out and has a really good second inning. But it was just a grind for him. Had trouble executing pitches. Everything they were hitting was up and over the plate. Just a grind for him. He has been throwing the ball so well, and today he was just flat."

Video: KC@BAL: Yost on Kennedy's outing in loss to Orioles

Jorge Soler's two-run single in the second inning gave the Royals a 6-3 lead. But the Orioles answered with two in the third and four in the fourth, chasing Kennedy.

Video: KC@BAL: Soler drives in 2 with a single up the middle

"I just watched the video," Kennedy said. "Everything was flat. The slider was flat. The curveball had a hump in it. I pulled my changeup. I wasn't on top of the ball. I tried to make the adjustment.

"The guys scored a bunch of runs for me and I can't hold it. Really disappointed right now."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Kennedy couldn't locate his fastball most of his night -- that was obvious in the first inning when the Orioles punished his four-seamer with doubles by Trey Mancini and Adam Jones, and a home run by Manny Machado. Yet, Kennedy still was clinging to a 6-5 lead in the fourth when he walked the leadoff hitter and with one out, gave up a single to Jace Peterson. That's when Kennedy went with a 1-0 changeup to light-hitting catcher Chance Sisco, who smashed it into the right-center-field gap for a two-run double. Mancini then ripped a four-seamer for a two-run jack, and the O's led 9-6.

Video: KC@BAL: Sisco plates 2 runs with double into the gap

UP NEXT
Right-hander Jason Hammel (0-4, 4.78 ERA) will get the start at 6:10 p.m. CT on Friday as the Royals open a three-game set against the Indians at Progressive Field. Right-hander Trevor Bauer (2-3, 2.53) will start for the Tribe. Hammel, who will be making his eighth start of the season, gave up three runs and 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings in his last outing on Saturday against the Tigers.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Ian Kennedy, Salvador Perez, Jorge Soler