Royals score 7 runs in 6th inning, beat Orioles 8-3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) It had been nearly two years since Kris Medlen stood on the mound to start a game, so it was no surprise the Royals right-hander felt a few butterflies Monday night.
He seemed to chase them away in a hurry.
After giving up an early two-run homer to Orioles slugger Adam Jones, Medlen got into a groove and cruised through six innings. His offense put up seven runs in the bottom half of that frame, and the result was an 8-3 victory over Baltimore to open a four-game set.
''I tried not to make it about myself,'' said Medlen, whose last start came on Sept. 27, 2013, with Atlanta. ''I said from the get-go, I don't want this to be a, `Yay, you made it, kind of thing.' I wanted to come out and produce.''
Medlen (2-0) did that, allowing just five hits and striking out six without a walk in his first start since replacing Jeremy Guthrie in the rotation.
Still, Medlen was in line for a loss until the Royals broke loose in the sixth inning.
Mike Moustakas hit a tying, two-run homer, and Omar Infante added a two-run triple moments later, scampering home when the throw to third base skittered away. Lorenzo Cain drove in two more, spoiling what had been a promising start by Ubaldo Jimenez.
Jimenez (9-8) allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings.
''He just started elevating some fastballs and they made him pay for it,'' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ''He was really commanding the ball well and just didn't that inning.''
The loss was the fifth straight for Baltimore and sixth in seven games. It carried a little added sting in that it was the first meeting between the teams since the Royals swept the Orioles in the AL Championship Series on their surprising run to the World Series.
''They pitched well and we didn't swing the bats well,'' Showalter said. ''They know that we got to get it going, and that's not usually a good recipe against good pitchers.''
The two-run homer by Jones and a run-scoring double by Steve Clevenger in the fourth inning got the Orioles off to a good start, and Jimenez was cruising through five. The only run he had allowed was on an RBI groundout by Eric Hosmer in the third inning.
Things completely unraveled for Jimenez in the sixth.
Hosmer doubled with one out and Moustakas sent a pitch soaring into the right-field stands to knot the game 3-all. Salvador Perez singled, Alex Rios hit a double and Infante sent a triple into the gap in left-center, sliding into third base ahead of the throw. When it skipped away to the third-base dugout, Infante clambered to his feet and chugged on home.
Alcides Escobar and Ben Zobrist followed with hits before Cain's two-run double made it a seven-run inning, matching a season best for the Royals.
Medlen's night was done by that point. He threw 69 pitches, one fewer than manager Ned Yost had said was his limit. Bullpen buddies Franklin Morales and Luke Hochevar did the rest.
''He gave up a couple of early runs,'' Moustakas said, ''but you can't ask for much more from someone making their first start in two or three years.''
TWO OUTS, NO PROBLEMS
The Royals went 9 for 16 with two outs, pushing their major league-leading average to .283 in those situations.
CLEVENGER TAKES LEAVE
Clevenger extended his season-high hitting streak to eight games, though No. 9 will have to wait. He's leaving the team to be with his pregnant wife, who will be induced on Tuesday. ''Hopefully this time tomorrow, we'll have a nice little addition to the club,'' Showalter said.
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (groin) went on the DL and INF-OF Steve Pearce (left oblique) was reinstated. ... RHP Mike Wright (calf) will start for Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday.
Royals: First base coach Rusty Kuntz was back at work after missing 13 days with a sinus infection and stomach virus. Kuntz said he lost more than 10 pounds during the illness.
Orioles: RHP Miguel Gonzalez tries to bounce back from an awful start against Minnesota in which he allowed seven runs in five innings of a 15-2 rout.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy has dominated the Orioles in three career outings, going 1-1 with a 1.46 ERA. Last May, he retired the first 20 batters he faced.