Kansas City, Mo. Scott Erickson's slow-but-steady return from elbow surgery took a giant leap forward Sunday with his first shutout in three years.
Erickson, who missed all last season, allowed four hits and two walks and got all but six outs on ground balls as the Orioles routed Kansas City 13-0.
"I've pitched some other pretty good games and lost," he said. "I didn't strike anybody out, so it's not like I was dominating or overpowering. I was just lucky the balls were hit at people."
After Carlos Beltran's infield single in the first, Erickson didn't allow another hit until Mike Sweeney's double in the seventh. It was Erickson's 12th shutout, his first since a three-hit, 5-0 win over Minnesota on Sept. 7, 1999.
Erickson got his 49th complete game, his first since a loss to Tampa Bay in June 2000. He walked two and struck out none.
"I would think that's a psychological barrier to break, to come back and get your first complete game after surgery," Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said. "I'm happy for us, but I'm happier for him."
It was the Orioles' first three-game sweep since September 2000 and their first in Kansas City since 1992.
Marty Cordova tied a career-high with four hits while scoring three runs and driving in two. Geronimo Gil had three hits and three RBIs, including a two-run double in the eighth, and Tony Batista hit a two-run double, giving him 11 RBIs in the series.
Kansas City has lost 11 of 14, dropping to 7-15, the same record the Royals had after 22 games last season, when they tied a franchise record with 97 losses. Bryan Rekar (0-2) allowed five runs and five hits in three-plus innings.
Sweeney was furious at his teammates' effort.
"At least act like you care," he fumed. "We're getting beat 13-0 and guys are out there acting like they don't care. That's embarrassing."
Baltimore's previous three-game sweep was against the Yankees on the final weekend of the 2000 season. The Orioles, who started 1-6, have won seven of nine to improve to 11-13.
"I don't think that just because I went out and threw nine innings means my elbow's better than ever, better than it was before," Erickson said. "The biggest and best judge for me is probably velocity. A lot of guys have that surgery and come back throwing harder. It would be nice to get my velocity back to where it was."
Cordova and Gil had RBI singles in the second inning, Jeff Conine had a sacrifice fly in the third, and rookie Mike Moriarty hit a two-run double off Jeremy Affledt in the fourth.
A throwing error by second baseman Luis Alicea scored a run in the fifth, Chris Singleton hit an RBI double in the sixth and Mike Bordick hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Batista doubled in the eighth, when Cordova added an RBI single and Gil a two-run double.
Notes: The sweep gave the Orioles a 94-92 record in Kansas City. The Orioles have at least one extra-base hit in every game. Royals LF Chuck Knoblauch missed a second straight game with a strained left elbow. The Royals have allowed an AL-low three unearned runs. Erickson is 12-6 against Kansas City. On Bordick's sacrifice fly, SS Neifi Perez and LF Donnie Sadler banged into each other and fell down as Perez made the catch in shallow left. Cordova trotted home.