BALTIMORE -- Now, that's how you debut for your new team.
Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, making his first start for the Orioles since being acquired from the Phillies on Friday, threw seven strong innings in a 6-0 victory over the Royals on Wednesday night at Camden Yards. The Orioles won their fifth straight by sweeping the three-game series.
"Last night, I had some nerves. But once I got out there, I felt fine," Hellickson said. "I've been traded before, just not in season to a team that is playing as well as we are, that has a chance to make the playoffs. So, just a little nervous last night, but I felt really good today."
The game was delayed 35 minutes by rain.
"Jeremy's always had that presentation from both dugouts. Not a whole lot seems to bother him. He's always been pretty consistent with his emotions, it seems like," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Our people are real good with the rain and understanding when we're going to play again, and how long it might be. We were fortunate they do a great job with it, the crew. It was a good call."
Hellickson gave up five hits and one walk while striking out three. The Orioles came into the series with an American League-worst 5.83 ERA among their starters, while the Royals had averaged a league-best 6.4 runs over the last 14 games. The O's, though, held the Royals to two earned runs in the series.
"They did a nice job of neutralizing the middle of our order -- 3-4-5-6 guys," manager Ned Yost said. "That's what makes us go."
Despite the sweep, the Royals managed a 5-4 road trip. But Yost, who was ejected in the ninth along with third baseman Mike Moustakas for arguing balls and strikes, said it didn't feel like a good trip.
"Not when you lose the series," Yost said. "You want to come in here and win the series. I don't care about the entire road trip right now. Hopefully we start another streak back home."
Royals starter Jason Vargas gave up four hits and three runs over five innings. He walked two and struck out six.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Joseph goes yard: Vargas appeared ready to get out of the second inning having allowed only one run on Tim Beckham's opposite-field RBI double when Joey Rickard lined to third for the second out. But Caleb Joseph jumped on a 1-1 fastball and drilled a two-run homer to left field that gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead.
"I made that mistake to Joseph," Vargas said. "I threw a fastball right over the middle. I was trying to go in tight on the body line. It was a mistake that definitely cost us."
Stop right there: The Royals had a fantastic chance to crawl back in the game in the sixth inning. Melky Cabrera led off with a walk, and Eric Hosmer roped a double down the right-field line. But Salvador Perez went after Hellickson's first offering for the third straight at-bat and hit a weak popup to first. Then, Moustakas struck out on three pitches, the last of which may have been foul-tipped into the ground, or so the Royals argued. Jorge Bonifacio got ahead in the count 2-0, but he dribbled a soft roller to first for the third out.
"I think I got that popup, and then, I don't strike out a lot of guys, but it was nice to get strikeouts in those situations," Hellickson said. "That was big, but just trying not to do too much. If they get a run there, we're still ahead 3-1, and I ended up getting out of it with nothing."
"Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I know I can run, man. I can bring energy to the club, and if that hits the right-center gap and touches the wall, I expect to be on third. Anything to bring some energy and get my club going, man. Just doing what I can." -- Beckham, on his RBI triple in the eighth inning
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Right-hander Trevor Cahill (4-3, 4.15 ERA) will make his first Royals start at home when they return to Kauffman Stadium to open a four-game series with the Mariners on Thursday night at 7:15 p.m. CT. Cahill allowed five runs and eight hits over four-plus innings on Saturday against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Orioles: Right-hander Chris Tillman (1-6, 7.65) will take the mound as the Orioles open a four-game set against the Tigers on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Last time out, he allowed eight runs on nine hits through 4 1/3 innings against the Rangers. However, Tillman has enjoyed much success against Detroit in his career with a 2.45 ERA in nine starts.