Kansas City, Mo. Jeff Francoeur has gained the reputation of doling out the hardest blows during the Royals’ five celebrations after game-ending hits this season.
Francoeur was on the receiving end Tuesday night as his sacrifice fly in the 10th inning — he hit a tying homer in the sixth — lifted Kansas City to a 6-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.
“I’ll take that any day of the week for a walkoff,” Francoeur said. “I beat up on people pretty good after walkoffs. I got beat up pretty good tonight. I went to the fetal position.”
After an 0-6 trip to Cleveland and Texas, the Royals have won four straight at Kauffman Stadium, where they are 13-5.
“With our road trip the way it was, it’s huge to come here and get these four games,” Francoeur said. “We feel if we’re close in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings we’ve got a shot to win the game. We seem relaxed at home. We want to find a way to play better on the road.”
Jason Berken (0-2) led off the 10th by walking Gordon on four pitches. He advanced to third on Billy Butler’s groundball single to center.
“We’ve been preaching first and third all year and Gordon went first to third,” Francoeur said. “It’s a great move, an aggressive move so we’d have a couple of chances to win it. I was the guy who hit the flyball, but those two guys are the ones who set it up.”
Rookie left-hander Tim Collins (2-1) struck out Luke Scott, the only batter he faced, to pick up the victory. It was an intriguing match up. Collins entered the game with left-handers hitting .321 off him, plus he had walked 12. Scott, however, had just one hit in 15 at-bats off left-handers before Tuesday
“I knew he’s a good fastball hitter,” Collins said. “Once I got strike one, I was able to mix in curveballs. His numbers against curveballs are far below what they are against fastballs, so that was my approach, get strike one and use my curveball. It worked.
“I don’t want to say it’s a well deserved win,” he added. “It would have been nice to see (starter Jeff) Francis get the ‘W,’ but that’s what happens, you come in and throw to one batter and get the win.”
Scott hit a three-run homer, his fourth in six games, to tie the score at 3 in the fourth. Scott homered to right after singles by Vladimir Guerrero and Adam Jones.
Guerrero walked in the sixth, his first walk of the season in his 115th plate appearance, an Orioles record to start the season.