Garcia allows costly homers vs. Royals

Davis' homer not enough as Orioles denied series sweep

Garcia allows costly homers vs. Royals

BALTIMORE -- Seeing Jeremy Guthrie pitching from the mound inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards is hardly unusual for Matt Wieters. But observing the hurler while holding a bat -- not squatting behind the plate with catching gear on -- now that is abnormal. Lately, the same can be said for Baltimore losing. Yes, Thursday's series finale was indeed atypical.

Making his first appearance against the club he pitched for during five seasons, Guthrie scattered hits and surrendered few runs. His pitching counterpart, Freddy Garcia, had but one shaky inning, yet it was enough to send the Orioles down a rare losing path.

The Royals smacked a pair of two-run homers off Garcia in the fourth as Baltimore's season-high four-game winning streak ended with a 6-2 loss against Kansas City on Thursday night.

"We scored two runs tonight; Freddy gave us a chance to win," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He paid for the few mistakes he made with the ball leaving the park."

Chris Davis hit his 10th home run of the season, but the Orioles' lineup could not light up the scoreboard against Guthrie, who won 47 games between 2007-11 with Baltimore. The Royals right-hander improved to 5-0 by holding Baltimore to two runs (one earned) and seven hits over six innings.

"He's got great stuff and can mix in four pitches," said Wieters, who served as the Orioles catcher for Guthrie's final three seasons with Baltimore. "It was a little different seeing him from the box as opposed to behind the plate, but still the same guy as when he was here."

After winning the two opening games in the three-game set, the Orioles (21-14) entered the game tied with Boston atop the AL East standings. Baltimore triumphed twice despite being outhit in each game. The opportunity existed for a hat trick as Kansas City finished with nine hits off Garcia and three relievers compared with eight total for Baltimore. The Orioles went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position against Guthrie and three relievers.

As for the reunion before the crowd of 23,282, comments from both Showalter and Guthrie smelled of indifference.

"I think someone else put it this way: We've turned the page," Guthrie said.

Speaking postgame elsewhere in the bowels of the stadium, the Orioles manager said: "I didn't pay much attention to that part of it. We've kind of turned the page. Jeremy did some good things for us. I'm glad he's doing good things with his career and life."

Making his second start of the season, Garcia (0-1) went six innings, allowing four runs and five hits with three strikeouts and one walk.

The 36-year-old surrendered two runs over a solid 6 2/3 innings in his Orioles debut against the Angels on Saturday and appeared headed down a similar path versus the Royals.

The game began 31 minutes late because of inclement weather that never actually materialized. Garcia retired the first 10 batters he faced before Lorenzo Cain reached on an infield single in the fourth. Alex Gordon then crushed a 2-1 offering from the Orioles starter deep over the right-field wall, putting the Royals in front, 2-1. Gordon homered in all three games against the Orioles.

Billy Butler followed with a single, and Garcia threw two straight balls to Eric Hosmer. On the next pitch, the lead jumped to 4-1 as Hosmer's drive landed in the left-center-field stands for his first home run of the season. Garcia then settled down, retiring seven of his final eight batters.

"I was throwing strikes, especially [going into] the fourth inning," Garcia said. "I made two mistakes, and then I paid for it. Sometimes it happens. It's part of the game, and hopefully next time I'll do better."

In the bottom of the fourth, Davis countered with a solo blast. The Orioles' first baseman began the day one home run behind the AL leaders, Cleveland's Mark Reynolds and Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion.

Reliever T.J. McFarland replaced Garcia in the seventh and promptly allowed a home run to Mike Moustakas. McFarland allowed two runs on three hits in one inning plus a batter.

The Orioles jumped ahead in the second inning as J.J. Hardy's broken-bat, one-out single to center scored Adam Jones from second, though Wieters was thrown out at third base.

Baltimore opens a three-game series in Minnesota on Friday.

Benjamin Standig is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.