KC's Gordon interrupts Ubaldo's spotless May
Righty gives up five runs, including three-run HR to Royals left fielder
KANSAS CITY -- Ubaldo Jimenez had a pretty special month going before he ran into Alex Gordon on Sunday. With one swing of the bat, Gordon did all he could to take some of the luster off Jimenez's May resume.
The Orioles gave Jimenez an early two-run lead, but Gordon's three-run homer off Jimenez in the fifth put the Royals on top to stay in an 8-6 victory at Kauffman Stadium.
Gordon had managed just one homer in 162 at-bats this season before he stepped into the batter's box with two on and two outs in the fifth. Baltimore led, 3-2, at the time, and right-hander Jimenez wanted to be careful with the left-handed-hitting Gordon, because he knew right-handed-hitting Salvador Perez was in the on-deck circle.
On a 1-1 pitch, Jimenez missed his spot. Gordon got a pitch in the hitting zone and lined a three-run homer over the right-field wall. Gordon would hit another three-run homer in the seventh off Troy Patton, and that made Adam Jones' three-run blast in the ninth too little, too late.
Jimenez entered the game 2-0 in May with a 0.46 ERA over 19 2/3 innings.
"It was really just one pitch that I'm sure he would like to take back," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He was trying to go down and away to Gordon, but got it middle-in, the sweet part that you want to stay away from. That was uncharacteristic, but that's the way it happens at this level. There's a fine line."
The Orioles put together their best offensive inning of the series in the third, rallying for three runs on five hits against Royals ace right-hander James Shields. But that was all Baltimore could muster against Shields, who wound up going seven innings.
Trailing 3-1, the Royals chipped away with an RBI single from Lorenzo Cain in the fourth. Then it was Gordon to the rescue for the Royals. Gordon finished the day 4-for-4 with a career-high six RBIs.
Jimenez acknowledged that he badly missed location on the three-run homer in the fifth.
"I didn't want to give him anything [to drive]," Jimenez said. "That was a mistake."
Gordon said his homer off Jimenez was a fastball that "caught a lot of the plate." Gordon's multihomer game was the first for a Royal since Perez accomplished the feat last Aug. 28 at Minnesota.
"Lately, I've been missing a lot of pitches," said Gordon. "When I got my pitch today, I didn't miss it." The Orioles trailed, 8-3, going to the ninth, but Jones made it interesting with his three-run homer off Aaron Crow. That blow prompted Kansas City manager Ned Yost to bring in closer Greg Holland, who recorded his 12th save.
"We fight to the end," Jones said. "I'm sure they didn't want to bring in their closer after being up by five."
Although the Baltimore offense wound up with six runs thanks to Jones' blast, the Orioles can look back to situations early in the game where they had chances to do a lot more damage against Shields.
In the third, five of the first six batters had hits sandwiched around a sacrifice fly. But Shields got both Chris Davis and Nelson Cruz out with two on. It was a tough day for Davis and Cruz, the No. 4 and No. 5 hitters. They combined to go 0-for-9.
By contrast, Kansas City's No. 4 and No. 5 hitters -- Billy Butler and Gordon -- combined to go 7-for-8 with seven RBIs and five runs scored.