Baltimore One of the more mundane drills of spring training involves a pitcher fielding a bunt and throwing to the proper base.
It’s an exercise that Kansas City Royals left-hander Danny Duffy undoubtedly has participated in many times. Unfortunately, practice does not always make perfect.
Duffy had two throwing errors on bunts in the 10th inning, laying the groundwork for a game-ending single by Nick Markakis that provided the Baltimore Orioles with a 3-2 victory Saturday night.
The Orioles went eight straight innings without scoring before facing Duffy, who had pitched 8 1-3 scoreless innings on the season.
After Duffy (1-1) hit Jonathan Schoop to begin the 10th, he threw wildly to second base after fielding a bunt by David Lough. Jemile Weeks followed with another bunt, and on this one Duffy’s throw went high and wide to first, loading the bases.
“Pitcher’s fielding practice, man,” Duffy said. “It’s a simple game and I just wasn’t sharp. I didn’t do my job tonight.”
Hitting Schoop with the pitch was bad enough. The successive throwing errors were downright painful.
“I just let it sail,” Duffy said. “I just didn’t hit the mark. Then, the one Weeks put down, I thought we had a chance at third and the last second, I turned and threw to first and the ball just sailed on me, too. There’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t take it back. But I just feel terrible right now because the team played their butts off today.”
Louis Coleman replaced Duffy and struck out Nelson Cruz before Markakis hit an opposite-field liner that landed inside the left-field foul line.
Zach Britton (3-0), the sixth Baltimore pitcher, struck out Jarrod Dyson with two outs and a runner on second in the top of the 10th.
Kansas City fell to 0-12 when failing to score at least four runs. The Royals — who stranded 11 and went 3 for 11 with runners in scoring position — are 11-0 when scoring four or more runs.
The Orioles played without slugger Chris Davis, who left Friday night’s game with a strained left oblique and is expected to be placed on the disabled list today.
Knowing they would be without Davis, the Orioles recalled Weeks from Triple-A Norfolk to provide an extra bat. Markakis, meanwhile, played his fourth career game at first base.
“He didn’t bat an eye,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He looks at it as a way to make a contribution. There’s a lot of Gold Glove right fielders who would have broke out in hives if you asked them to play first base.”
Jeremy Guthrie started for Kansas City and gave up two runs before getting two outs, and then blanked his former team over the next six innings before leaving with the game tied. The right-hander finished up by getting David Lough to hit into a double play with runners on the corners and one out in the seventh.
“We did a nice job of getting back in that game after Guthrie gave up two runs in the first,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He settled down unbelievably. He did a great job of pitching out of a jam in the seventh inning.”
Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen allowed two runs, nine hits and two walks over a season-high seven innings. The left-hander ended his outing with his sixth strikeout, against Alex Gordon with two on and two outs.
The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the first. Weeks hit a leadoff single in his first at-bat with Baltimore, Cruz walked and Markakis delivered an RBI single before Adam Jones drove in a run by hitting into a fielder’s choice.
The Royals used doubles by Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer to get a run in the third. Chen avoided further damage by retiring Gordon on a grounder with the bases loaded and two outs.
After Weeks tripled with two outs in the fifth and Cruz looked at a third strike, Kansas City pulled even in the sixth. Gordon singled and Danny Valencia beat out a chopper to third before Justin Maxwell blooped a two-out RBI single to center.
Notes: Orioles C Matt Wieters went hitless after getting at least two hits in four straight games. ... Miguel Gonzalez will pitch for the Orioles in today’s series finale against James Shields, who’s 9-7 in 24 career starts against Baltimore. ... Guthrie is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three career starts against the Orioles. ... Escobar hurt his knee in the 10th inning on Schoop’s slide into second base, but he stayed in the game and Yost said, “I think he’s going to be all right.”