By Jeffrey Flanagan and Robert Falkoff
KANSAS CITY -- Hot-hitting Eric Hosmer delivered two more hits, including the go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning, in the Royals' 3-2 win over the Orioles on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Hosmer, who came into the game hitting .397 over his previous 15 games, shot a double into the right-center-field gap off left-hander Vidal Nuno, scoring Lorenzo Cain from first. The Royals have won four of their last five games.
"Off the bat, I knew it had a chance [to drop]," Hosmer said. "But at the same time, I got a good look at [O's center fielder Adam Jones] running down a lot of balls ... in the World Baseball Classic. With him out there, you never feel safe when the ball is in the air. As soon as it hit the ground, I knew Lo was gonna score. It's a good feeling."
Orioles starter Dylan Bundy turned in his eighth straight quality start. He went six innings and gave up four hits and two runs, while walking one and striking out eight.
"I was struggling all game with the curveball. It was really fastball, changeup and two-seamer," Bundy said. "I looked up and saw 108 pitches and it didn't feel like 108. That's a good thing. I'm getting stronger," said Bundy, who finished with 112 pitches.
Royals starter Danny Duffy wobbled at times, but he grinded through seven innings while giving up eight hits and two earned runs. He struck out six.
Caleb Joseph figured in both Orioles runs. The catcher doubled in J.J. Hardy, who tripled on a misplay by right fielder Jorge Soler, in the second inning. Joseph then doubled and scored after a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch.
"They gave us a chance in the last inning," O's manager Buck Showalter said. "We're 90 feet away from tying the game. Duffy has always been tough on us. He's pitching about as well as anybody and we knew runs were going to be at a premium."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Stepping up: Royals designated hitter Brandon Moss came into the game sporting a .150 batting average and a .233 on-base percentage. But he jumped on a Bundy slider in the fifth inning and parked it into the upper fountains in right-center. Statcast™ had Moss' exit velocity at 112 mph and estimated the homer, Moss' fifth, to travel 456 feet from the plate.
"That was a huge homer," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We knew going in Baltimore has a tough pitching staff and it would be tough to score."
Don't run on Gordon: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon continues to struggle at the plate, but the four-time Gold Glove Award winner always makes his presence felt in the field. The O's had a chance to do some damage in the third when Mark Trumbo, Jonathan Schoop and Trey Mancini all singled with two out. But third-base coach Bobby Dickerson sent Trumbo from second on Mancini's single, and Gordon easily nailed him down at the plate. It was Gordon's 77th career outfield assist, most in the Major Leagues since 2010.
"The minute I saw them give the go sign," Duffy said, "I thought, 'This inning is over.'"
Added Yost, "Just a huge play. It was a base hit, and you see Gordy bearing down on it and you're just thinking, 'Please send him. Please send him.'"
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With his two doubles and a triple, Joseph recorded his first career game with three extra-base hits.
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles: Right-hander Chris Tillman (1-0, 0.00 ERA) hopes to emulate his lone start against the Royals in 2016 when he gets the ball for the middle game of the series at 7:15 p.m. ET. In last year's start against Kansas City, Tillman worked 7 1/3 shutout innings with nine strikeouts and no walks.
Royals: Right-hander Nathan Karns (2-2, 4.43) gets the start for the Royals in the middle game of the series on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. CT. Karns tied a career high with 10 strikeouts against the Rays on Monday night in a 7-3 win.