Chen, O's ride homers past KC for series win

Chen, O's ride homers past KC for series win

BALTIMORE -- Jonathan Schoop smacked two homers and the Orioles pounded reeling Royals ace Johnny Cueto for four homers in a 8-2 triumph on Sunday night.

The Royals' magic number to clinch the American League Central remained at 11. They also remained 2 1/2 games ahead of Toronto for home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

Adam Jones hit a three-run homer, his 27th long ball this season, and Chris Davis added his Major League-leading 42nd. Schoop now has 14 homers.

"Today's the first time you get a little fall crispness in the air. Tonight was a reminder of what playing in the playoffs was like. It was dark when the game started. There was a certain feel to it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "You're playing the team with the best record in the American League. It was good. Beat the Yankees two out of three, and beat these guys two out of three."

Cueto lost his career-worst fifth straight game. He gave up 11 hits and seven earned runs over 6 1/3 innings. His ERA is 9.57 over the five-game stretch.

Cueto insists he is 100-percent healthy.

"I feel like I've felt every time," he said through interpreter Pedro Grifol. "I feel strong, healthy.

"What needs to happen is I need to keep my head up and keep moving forward. I can't look at the negatives from the past few weeks."

Wei-Yin Chen gave the Orioles seven strong innings, giving up six hits and two runs, walking none and striking out two.

Schoop leads Cueto-homer brigade: Baltimore hit the most homers Cueto has allowed in a single start since 2010 -- with Schoop turning in his first multi-homer effort of the season. Cueto has now allowed nine homers in his last 34 1/3 innings pitched after allowing 11 in his prior 152 2/3 innings.

"Cueto is a really good pitcher, and if you get a good pitch the first pitch or second pitch, you better take advantage of it," said Schoop, who hit 1-0 sliders for both of his homers. "You don't want to get into a [deep] count with Cueto, because he's got a lot to go to, changeup, slider. He's a really good pitcher. Got to attack him early." More >

Schoop's second homer

Perez rolling: A day after getting two hits and driving in three runs, Royals catcher Salvador Perez was back at it on Sunday night. With two out in the second, Perez whacked a double to deep right-center field. He then scored on Alex Rios' double to left. Then in the seventh, Perez drove a double to deep left-center field.

Chen's gem: The Orioles lefty picked up his ninth win of the season, retiring 15 of 17 to finish out his night. He is 5-1 in his last 10 starts.

"During the past two starts, maybe I was trying too hard, maybe I was kind of overthinking and I couldn't stay calm in the game," Chen said through his interpreter. "So today I was just focusing on my pitching, and hoped that I can do better than the previous two starts."

"He's always tough on us," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I think we might have gotten him one time last year. But he usually throws 90-91 [mph], but against us, it seems it's 93-94."

Chen's strong outing

Davis' solo shot was his 91st career homer at Oriole Park, tying him for third on the club's all-time list with Brady Anderson.

Davis' 42nd homer

"This is such a snowball time of year. I said it before. Things can get going really one way or the other. We have to keep the carrot out there. We've got 20 games left and we're going to try to win every one of them. If you watch the way our guys are going about their business, that's their idea as much as mine."-- Showalter

Royals: The Royals open a four-game set in Cleveland with right-hander Edinson Volquez on the mound Monday at 6:10 p.m. CT. Volquez gave up two runs over seven innings in his last outing, a 4-2 Royals win over Minnesota.

Orioles: Baltimore will host the Red Sox for a three-game set starting Monday night at 7:05 p.m. ET. Former O's farmhand Eduardo Rodriguez will take the mound for Boston against O's righty Kevin Gausman.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.