Guthrie, who was the Orioles’ Opening Day starter in 2008, ’09 and ’11, held them to two runs (one earned) on seven hits over six innings to snap the Orioles’ season-high four-game winning streak and allow the Royals to salvage the series finale.
The Orioles’ loss, combined with a New York Yankees win, put the Orioles percentage points behind the Yankees for first place in the AL East. Despite the defeat, the Orioles (21-14) still won their eighth series out of 11 this season as they head into a three-game series in Minnesota beginning Friday night.
Kansas City (18-13), which scored just three runs in each of the first two games of the series, hit three homers Thursday, including two off starter Freddy Garcia (0-1) in a four-run fourth inning.
"We scored two runs tonight,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Freddy gave us a chance to win. It was good to see. We had a little trouble keeping the ball in the park."
Guthrie, dealt to the Colorado Rockies before the 2012 season in a deal that brought Jason Hammel to Baltimore, pitched for the Orioles from 2007 to 2011 and averaged 13 losses on teams that averaged 95 defeats during that span. But he has found new life since being traded to Kansas City during last season.
Guthrie (5-0), who was coming off his first career shutout in his previous start, recorded his sixth quality start in seven outings this season.
"I didn't pay much attention to that part of it,” Showalter said of Guthrie’s outing. “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. Jeremy had some good outings for us, had some times he was challenged, just like every pitcher does. That wasn't a point of emphasis for me.”
Guthrie, asked if beating the Orioles meant anything extra, apparently heard Showalter’s comments before talking to reporters after the game.
“I think someone else put it this way, we’ve turned the page,” he said.
The Orioles managed just one hit in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position. On Guthrie’s final pitch of the night, he struck out Ryan Flaherty — who represented the tying run at the time — looking with a runner on second to end the sixth inning.
The Orioles – who had just two baserunners reach second base after Chris Davis’ solo homer in the fourth – were visibly frustrated with several strike calls by home plate umpire CB Bucknor, especially late in the game.
After the mild-mannered Flaherty struck out looking to end the sixth, he slammed his helmet and bat to the ground in frustration.
“He thought it was a strike, I didn’t,” Flaherty said. “But, obviously it doesn’t matter what I think, so he thought it was a strike, and that’s the way it was.”
Garcia, who took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in Anaheim on Saturday in his first start with the Orioles, retired the first 10 hitters he faced Thursday, but he quickly yielded four runs in the fourth inning.
After shortstop Alcides Escobar reached on an infield hit, Gordon launched a 2-1 pitch onto the flag court in right field. Two batters later, after Billy Butler singled, Hosmer took a 2-0 pitch into the left-center seats.
“I was behind in the count to both hitters and I gave up two home runs,” Garcia said. “I was trying to do my best and tried to keep the guys in the game. … I made two mistakes and then I paid for it. Sometimes it happens. Its part of the game, and hopefully next time I’ll do better.”
Gordon’s homer, his sixth of the season, marked the first time in his career he’s homered in three straight games — with all coming against the Orioles. Hosmer’s snapped a homerless streak of 144 at-bats that dated back to last Sept. 11.