Baltimore The Kansas City Royals slugged their way through four games at Camden Yards, taking full advantage of the short distance to the outfield fence to hit eight home runs against the Baltimore Orioles.
Unfortunately, the Royals were also victimized by the long ball. Such was the case Sunday, when Kansas City yielded two homers in a 5-3 loss that gave Baltimore a split of the series.
Manny Machado hit his third homer in four major league games and Nick Markakis also connected for the Orioles, who got four hitless innings from their bullpen.
Throughout the series, the Royals had no answer for Machado, who went 6 for 16 with a double, triple, three home runs and seven RBIs.
“I like him. I was impressed,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “The scouting reports that we got said he had a couple of holes in his swing. We couldn’t find them. He hurt us. He won two games for them against us with homers. He hit the ball to center field. He hits the ball to left field.”
Mike Moustakas homered for the Royals, who went 4-3 on a road swing against the White Sox and Orioles. Kansas City has 15 home runs over its last eight games.
“We’ve been showing some signs of pop over here and that’s what we need,” Moustakas said. “We got a lot of guys that can swing the bat with some authority.”
The Royals are 49-65, but they gave Baltimore all it could handle.
“We were playing better baseball,” Yost said. “I’m anxious to get home and see what we can do there.”
Machado hit a two-run homer in the second off former Orioles pitcher Bruce Chen (8-10). Machado tripled in his debut Thursday night, homered twice in his second game and doubled in a run Saturday night.
With his home run Sunday, the 20-year-old Machado joined Frank Robinson, Ray Knight and Lee May as the only players to get an extra-base hit in each of their first four games with the Orioles.
Baltimore went up 4-3 in the sixth. After Chen issued two straight walks, Reynolds greeted Louis Coleman with an RBI single to left. The Orioles added an unearned run in the eighth.
Luis Ayala (4-3) worked the sixth, and Troy Patton and Pedro Strop each got three outs before Jim Johnson finished for his 34th save in 37 opportunities.
“They’ve got a pretty strong back end of the bullpen,” Yost said. “Once they got into it with the lead, you got to hope they make a mistake.”
Orioles starter Tommy Hunter gave up three runs and eight hits in five innings. The right-hander has yielded at least one home run in 10 straight starts, and the two walks were Hunter’s most in a game since April 24.
After stranding runners at the corners in the first inning, the Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the second. Reynolds led off with a walk before Machado hit a drive to center that umpires initially ruled bounced off the top of the wall. After a quick replay review, Machado broke into his home-run trot from second base.
Moustakas ended an 0-for-10 drought with a liner off the foul pole in right field leading off the fourth, and Brayan Pena added a sacrifice fly to tie it at 2.
The Royals got a run in the fifth when Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar singled ahead of a double-play grounder by Moustakas. In the bottom half, Markakis knotted the score at 3 and ended Chen’s run of 11 straight outs with a drive to right on a 3-2 pitch.
Chen allowed four runs, four hits and three walks in 5 1-3 innings.
“It came down to the sixth inning, a couple of guys on base and one of them ended up scoring,” he said. “It was a tough loss, but they have a very good team and they have a very good bullpen.”
Notes: Baltimore’s Adam Jones started at DH for the first time in his career. Nate McLouth took over in CF and made an outstanding diving catch to end the seventh inning. ... KC’s Billy Butler went 2 for 3 and was 6 for 16 with 2 HRs in the series. ... Orioles RHP Jason Hammel experienced no pain in his surgically repaired right knee a day after throwing off the front of the mound for the first time since the procedure. He will throw off the mound today. ... Both teams have today off. ... Markakis is 8 for 15 lifetime against Chen. ... KC’s run of eight straight games with a home run ties a season high.