By Jeffrey Flanagan and Brittany Ghiroli
BALTIMORE -- Right-hander Dylan Bundy delivered the Orioles' fourth straight solid start, and Seth Smith had two hits and three RBIs in a 7-2 victory over the Royals on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.
"We've got a lot of guys with a track record of pitching well. Hopefully we're getting into the period where we get it because we're going to have to have that," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his club, which is 3 1/2 games behind the Royals for the second American League Wild Card spot. "A couple more days and I might start looking at the standings again. So, we'll see. So far so good.
The Orioles, who have won four straight, have given up just three earned runs by their starters in those four wins. Bundy was the latest to impress, needing just 93 pitches to get through his outing. One main factor working for him? His slider.
"It was just working a little bit better tonight. Usually, I don't get it in on lefties as much," said Bundy, who picked up his 10th win. "I make it more of a cutter when I go in to lefties with it. We were able to throw it some to lefties tonight."
Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy, who had quality starts in six of his previous eight games, was off from the start, allowing four hits and two runs to the first five batters he faced. Kennedy went four-plus innings, giving up eight hits and four runs.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Small start to a big inning: The Orioles put this one away with a three-run fifth that really got going with a one-on, two-out dribbler by Tim Beckham off left-hander Scott Alexander that shortstop Alcides Escobar couldn't handle. It was ruled a hit. Smith followed with a deep drive to left-center that Lorenzo Cain appeared to track. But the ball eluded Cain, and Smith was credited with a two-run double. Then Welington Castillo singled in Smith, and it was 6-1.
"Scottie's got such a heavy sinker that they just pound it in the ground," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He's been victimized [by infield hits] lately. I can think of four or five like that."
Yost also thought Cain would catch Smith's double.
"I did, because like you say, we're so used to him making those catches," Yost said. "But he had to go a long way. It was perfectly placed."
Two-out stroke: The Royals had pulled within 2-1 in the third, but the O's answered right back in the fourth. Smith was hit by a 1-2 fastball from Kennedy, then advanced to third on consecutive groundouts. Adam Jones, who turned 32 on Tuesday, then followed with a seeing-eye single to left to make it 3-1.
"I'm ready for it. I'm going to take like six boxes to go home. I'm going to Curacao and give them away there, too." -- Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who had a T-shirt giveaway on Tuesday and has a bobblehead giveaway later this week
BUCK MOVES UP
Showalter passed Hall of Famer Earl Weaver on the all-time managerial win list with his 1,481st win on Tuesday night. He now owns sole possession of 24th place all-time.
"One, it was way too short, but he loved the Orioles and he had time for me. He didn't have to, believe me," Showalter said of what Weaver taught him. "Getting to take him around to some of our drills in [Spring Training in] Sarasota, he was so in his element. You could see some of the challenges we all get as we get older, but once he got in between the lines and around grass and around players, you could see there was a whole different comfort level.
"Earl loved Baltimore, he loved the Orioles. Anybody who didn't share that didn't get along too well with him."
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Left-hander Jason Vargas (13-4, 3.00 ERA) takes the mound for the series finale and the last game of the nine-game road trip at 6:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Vargas gave up five hits and one run over six innings in a 4-2 win over Boston on Friday in his last outing.
Orioles:Jeremy Hellickson, acquired from Philadelphia on Friday, will make his O's debut against the Royals on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. ET. The 30-year-old was 6-5 with a 4.73 ERA in 20 starts for the Phillies this season.