Star power: Herrera fans Jones in huge spot

Star power: Herrera fans Jones in huge spot

KANSAS CITY -- It was somewhat of a classic matchup: the power arm of Royals All-Star reliever Kelvin Herrera vs. the power bat of Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones.

And Kansas City's one-run lead with two out in the seventh inning was in peril with the potential tying run at second base. But three pitches later, Herrera had struck out Jones and the Royals weren't seriously threatened again as they went on to a 3-2 win on Tuesday night.

"Three good sinkers, two-seamers," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "With Kelvin's arm, that's what he's capable of doing against a really good hitter, a really dangerous hitter who could do some damage."

All three sinking fastballs were in the upper 90s and two of them appeared out of the strike zone.

"What happens is you get out of the strike zone," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Jones. "There's two parts to it. It's getting a pitch you can do something with and then putting a good swing on it. Everybody's trying to be the guy. That's not always easy to do."

Herrera's mission was to challenge Jones and not get behind in the count.

"I was trying not to be too fine and not walk him," Herrera said. "I just wanted to get it back on the plate. And go right after him."

Herrera knew Jones was capable of turning on a misplaced pitch and turning a lead into a deficit.

"I just trying to throw the ball down in the zone," Herrera said. "Trying to get back on the plate and try to secure the pitches."

With a bullpen a little bit spent, Herrera was asked to go out and pitch the eighth as well. He did, allowing a two-out single, but ultimately protecting the lead.

"I finished my pitches really good tonight," he said.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.