Kansas City, Mo. Nate Karns struck out a career-high 12 in five innings, Eric Hosmer reached base four times and the Kansas City Royals beat the Baltimore Orioles, 4-3, on Saturday night.
Karns is the first pitcher in franchise history to strike out 12 in five innings. The last major league pitcher to accomplish that was Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs on June 5, 2016.
Baltimore’s Chris Davis homered off Seth Maness (1-0) to tie it 3-3 in the sixth, but Brandon Moss went deep off Alec Asher (1-2) to put Kansas City back ahead later that inning. Moss has homered in consecutive games.
Hosmer had two hits and walked twice. The Royals scored three runs in 4 1/3 innings off Chris Tillman.
Karns had 10 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings in his previous start and has 48 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings this season, but has also allowed eight home runs, including a pair to Francisco Pena on Saturday. Pena homered in the third and fifth innings, the second and third homers of his career.
Sacrifice flies by Lorenzo Cain and Jorge Bonifacio in the fifth gave the Royals a 3-2 lead.
Maness was making his Royals’ debut and his first big league appearance since Aug. 13 because of elbow surgery.
Mike Minor pitched two perfect innings for Kansas City and has allowed one run in 14 2/3 innings in his past eight appearances. Kelvin Herrera worked a perfect ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.
Hosmer doubled to start the second and scored on Salvador Perez’s single. Hosmer is hitting .422 in his past 17 games to raise his average to .299.
The dark side
Orioles manager Buck Showalter thought the baseballs were too dark Friday. Before each game, balls are rubbed with a New Jersey mud from a Delaware River tributary to take the shine off.
“That’s something they’re working on,” Showalter said. “Each night the balls are a different color. Can you imagine if you had other sports that did that? You’ve got to see the ball, right? It depends on how much the guys who are rubbing the balls up want to make them that night. Doesn’t that seem a little strange to you? I find it a little strange that we play with a different ball in the minor leagues than we do in the big leagues.”
Nine for nine
2B Whit Merrifield became the ninth Royal to bat ninth this season. Raul Mondesi started 12 games batting ninth before being optioned April 21 to Triple-A Omaha. Backup C Drew Butera has batted last seven times. None of the others have more than four starts hitting ninth.
Orioles: C Welington Castillo (right shoulder tendinitis) began his minor league rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie, serving as designated hitter for a doubleheader. He went 1 for 4, was hit by a pitch and walked. He is scheduled to catch Sunday and join the Orioles on Tuesday in Detroit.
Royals: LF Alex Gordon, who left in the seventh inning Friday with right groin tightness, was not in the lineup. Manager Ned Yost said if Gordon is not close to 100 percent Sunday, he would sit him again, and with the day off Monday, that would give him three days to recuperate.
Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman starts the series finale. He is coming off perhaps his best start of the season, holding the Nationals to five hits and two runs over seven innings with eight strikeouts and one walk.
Royals: RHP Chris Young will make his second start of the year. He is 1-8 in his past 14 starts.