Kansas City, Mo. Even though Bruce Chen got the victory and Joakim Soria picked up another save, it was rookie reliever Kanekoa Texeira who rescued the Kansas City Royals.
Chen picked up his first victory since July 3, and Alex Gordon homered in the Royals’ 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.
Texeira worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the sixth inning.
Adam Jones led off with a bunt single. Felix Pie reached on Chen’s throwing error, and Jake Fox also singled. Texeira replaced Chen and got Josh Bell to ground into a double play, with Jones scoring. Texeira struck out Cesar Izturis to end the inning.
“I told Bruce today, ‘Big guy, I got your back. Bruce, don’t worry,”’ Texeira said. “He said, ‘We’ll see.’ I kinda showed him. Skip told me not to worry about the runner at third, try to get a double play and try to get the next guy out. I took it to word.”
Chen said he owes Texeira a steak dinner for getting out of that mess with minimal damage.
“That’s the least I can do for him,” Chen said. “He did a real good job with the bases loaded. He hasn’t pitched in a while, but he still looked very sharp.”
Texeira will be waiting for that dinner with the Royals opening a nine-game trip Monday in Oakland, Calif.
“I doubt it. He won’t pay,” Texeira said and laughed.
Chen (6-5), who was 0-3 in his past four starts, went five innings. He allowed three runs and seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
“Chen would bend, but never break,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “The bullpen did an awesome job of holding the lead.”
Gordon led off the fourth inning with an opposite-field home run, his second homer in three games.
This was the final game for Juan Samuel as the Orioles interim manager. He finished with a 17-34 record. Buck Showalter will take over as the Orioles manager Tuesday.
“I wish we’d have ended with a victory here or a series win, but these guys played hard,” Samuel said. “I wish we would have ended with a few more wins, but these guys have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Baltimore threatened in the ninth on Izturis’ leadoff single and Julio Lugo reached on Wilson Betemit’s throwing error.
Soria worked out of that jam with Nick Markakis grounding into a double play and Luke Scott grounding out to end the game. Chris Getz made a diving stop of Scott’s grounder and threw him about by a half step.
“I was hoping it would squeak through,” Scott said. “I was having to protect all sides of the plate with two strikes. Soria did a good job with the 3-1 changeup. He made a perfect pitch and that’s why he’s a top closer.”
Soria picked up his 29th save in 31 opportunities and has converted 22 straight save chances.
The Royals scored three runs in the first on four hits, including Billy Butler’s RBI double. Betemit, who had two hits, singled home Butler. Jason Kendall also scored Jose Guillen’s ground out.
Notes: RHP Gil Meche has opted against having season-ending surgery, but instead hopes to rehab and be used out of the bullpen. Meche was advised by doctors if he had surgery in August, he would also not pitch next year. He was 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA in nine starts before going on the disabled list. ... The Royals committed three errors, matching their season high.