Royals denied in bid for series win over O's

Royals denied in bid for series win over O's

Royals denied in bid for series win over O's
BALTIMORE -- Not quite as sweet as it might have been, but still a winning road trip for the Royals.

The Orioles took the finale of a four-game series, 5-3, on Sunday for a split and the Royals finished their excursion of Baltimore and Chicago with a 4-3 record.

"It was OK. You know what? We're playing better baseball," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I thought today's game was OK; we made a couple of mistakes but we played well, This whole trip we played well so I'm anxious to get home and see what we can do there."

The Royals, off on Monday, open a homestand on Tuesday night against Oakland.

After taking two of three from the White Sox, the Royals had a chance to win three of four from the Orioles, but had to settle for a split as 20,935 fans watched on a rain-free afternoon at Camden Yards.

Home runs continued to fly. There were 14, including eight by the Royals, in the series. But the Orioles out-powered them on Sunday.

Rookie sensation Manny Machado continued to beat up on the Royals. After left-hander Bruce Chen walked Mark Reynolds to open the Orioles' second, Machado put a drive off the top of the right-center-field wall. The ball bounced off a back wall and returned to the field, and the umpires initially stopped Machado at second and Reynolds at third, ruling it was a double. Sensing a second look was warranted, the umpires immediately adjourned for a video review and quickly called it a two-run homer.

It was Machado's third home run since being called up on Thursday for the series opener.

"He's never played above Double-A and he comes here and he has three home runs," Chen said. "He's been thrown onto the fire, the team's fighting for a [playoff] spot and he's responded very well. He definitely has the makeup and definitely has the ability. He's going to be a good player for a long time, so we better get used to making good pitches to him."

Machado, 20, was 6-for-16 in the series with seven RBIs and five runs scored.

"I was impressed," Yost said. "The scouting reports we got on him said he had a couple of holes in his swing, but we couldn't find 'em."

The Royals' Mike Moustakas went deep against right-hander Tommy Hunter to open the fourth inning, his drive glancing off the right-field foul pole. It was the 18th homer this season for Moustakas.

It was also the eighth straight game in which the Royals have hit home runs -- 15 of them in all.

"We've been showing signs of pop over here and that's what we need," Moustakas said. "We've got a lot of guys that can swing the bat with some authority, so when we get everybody rolling we're going to have some fun here."

Before the inning was over, the Royals loaded the bases on singles by Billy Butler and Jeff Francoeur and Eric Hosmer's walk, but got just one more run on Brayan Pena's sacrifice fly. Chris Getz followed with a bullet down the first-base line, but Reynolds made a diving stop and retired him.

"l was standing right down that line so I could see it," Yost said. "When Getz hit it, he smoked it and I thought that ball's going to get by him, and he made a heck of a play."

A third run in the fifth gave the Royals a 3-2 lead against Hunter, but then they were completely shut down by the bullpen -- no hits or runs in the last four innings.

"They've got a pretty strong-armed back of the bullpen," Yost said. "Once they get into it with a lead you've got to hope they make a mistake and you put a good swing on a ball, and maybe find some seats somewhere. But they've got a pretty dynamic bullpen."

Nick Markakis pulled the Orioles even in the fifth inning with his solo homer off Chen. Two walks by Chen in the sixth brought Louis Coleman out of the Royals' bullpen and he gave up go-ahead single to Reynolds.

The Orioles added an insurance run in the eighth. Francisley Bueno walked Nate McLouth and was relieved by Aaron Crow. Adam Jones singled on a pop fly that Francoeur lost in the sun, and both runners moved up on a bunt. McLouth scored on catcher Pena's passed ball.

"It was one of those balls that was kind of in-between, but I need to do a better job on those. There's no excuse," Pena said.

So instead of a 5-2 trip, the Royals were 4-3, but they were seeing signs of improvement.

Even Orioles manager Buck Showalter conceded that even though his team won the season series, 5-4, the Royals were a tough adversary.

"It's just a lot of good hitters. You've seen the numbers. You can see why they're so excited about their future. I would be, too. It's hard to find a dent in that lineup," Showalter said.

"They've got some quality arms down in the bullpen, the starting pitching's been a little inconsistent, but it's not the type of team in the American League Central that you're going to want to be facing. Because they're not going to be mailing it in. They've got a lot of guys trying to establish themselves. They're not much fun to pitch to."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.