Baltimore Jeff Francoeur had a terrific weekend, and the notoriously streaky hitter hopes the rest of the Royals will follow his success.
Francoeur had two more hits on Sunday, including a go-ahead home run, and Kansas City beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2.
Francoeur finished 7-for-12 in the three-game series. In his last 14 games, he is batting .379 with all five of his home runs this season, two of them on this trip to Baltimore.
“I think you’re starting to see us all kind of get in a groove, which I think we all thought we’d do this year sooner rather than later,” he said.
Kansas City won two consecutive games for the first time since a four-game winning streak from May 12-15.
“I think we knew it was time to kind of get going here,” Francoeur said.
Billy Butler also homered and Alcides Escobar had two hits. Butler had home runs in successive games for the Royals, but was happiest for Francoeur.
“Frenchie is going through one of the better stretches I’ve seen anybody go through. I hope he can sustain it,” Butler said.
K.C. had superb relief pitching in the last two games. They limited the Orioles to four singles in 72⁄3 innings.
Tim Collins (2-0) was the winner with 11⁄3 perfect innings in relief of starter Luke Hochevar.
Collins, Kelvin Herrera, Jose Mijares, Aaron Crow and Jonathan Broxton combined to limit the Orioles to one hit in the final 41⁄3 innings. Broxton closed for his 10th save in 12 chances.
With two outs in the ninth, J.J. Hardy hit a short fly. Francoeur came in from right field and converged with second baseman Johnny Giavotella, who dropped the ball for an error that allowed Hardy to reach second. Nick Markakis struck out to end the game.
“We’ve got guys with some pretty electric stuff,” Butler said.
Baltimore’s Adam Jones, whose six-year, $85.5 million contract extension was officially announced before the game, extended his career-long hitting streak to 18 — longest in the majors this season — with a fifth-inning double.
The Orioles have lost five of seven.
Brian Matusz (4-5) had a three-game winning streak broken. He allowed three earned runs and seven hits in six innings.
Francoeur hit a leadoff home run in the sixth that put Kansas City ahead 3-2.
“He’s just hot right now, swinging the bat really well. He’s got a good eye for the plate, battles with two strikes. Fouls a lot of pitches off and makes the pitches work. He’s just hot and was able to connect,” Matusz said.
Butler hit a long, arcing home run to left field in the first off Matusz. The Orioles tied it in the bottom half on a single by Hardy and an RBI double by Markakis.
In the second, Francoeur hit a sinking liner to center field that Jones mishandled. It was ruled a single and an error. With one out, Escobar lined a ball off second baseman Robert Andino’s glove for a single. Mitch Maier bunted to Matusz, and Francoeur scored on the safety squeeze for a 2-1 lead.
Baltimore tied it in fourth when Andino, who reached on a fielder’s choice with one out, stole second and advanced to third on catcher Humberto Quintero’s throwing error. Xavier Avery, who had been in a 2-for-22 rut, hit an RBI single.
The Royals broke the 2-all tie in the sixth when Francoeur led off with a home run to left field that was barely fair. It was his fifth home run of the season, all on the road. With one out, Escobar singled, and he scored on Quintero’s RBI double.
“We didn’t do much after the fifth there. That was the story. They made us pay for whatever mistakes Brian made. We had trouble with Butler and Francoeur and they got us again here,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Hochevar started and threw 100 pitches in 4 2-3 innings. He allowed one earned run and seven hits. He entered with an 0-3 record and 9.47 ERA at Camden Yards.
Notes: Jones’ hitting streak is the longest by an Orioles player since Markakis had a 19-game streak last June. ... The Orioles dropped consecutive series for the first time this season. ... Kansas City CF Jarrod Dyson sat out a day after a frightening collision with LF Alex Gordon. Dyson sustained a bruised hamstring, but said he was fine. ... Hochevar hit two batters. He has five HBPs in 10 starts. ... RHP Tommy Hunter (2-2, 5.07) is scheduled to pitch for the Orioles when they open a three-game series in Toronto on Monday night. ... The Royals begin a three-game series in Cleveland with RHP Nate Adcock (0-2, 2.33) ready to go.