BALTIMORE - Matt Wieters went the opposite way and helped the Baltimore Orioles add another one-run win to their 2013 resume, one that seems to be becoming that of a contender.
Wieters' eighth-inning RBI double that landed just inside the foul line in left field proved to be the game-winner in Baltimore's 4-3 victory over Kansas City on a rainy Tuesday night in front of 12,921 at Camden Yards. It was another case of late-inning heroics for the Orioles (20-13), who have won eight of their last 12 and sport the best record in baseball dating back to July 29, 2012, at 61-33.
Baltimore scored three of its four runs with two outs, and Wieters drove in three by himself. The big catcher went 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles, including his lob shot into left off Royals reliever Luke Hochevar in the eighth.
"I was hoping," Wieters said of his fly ball landing fair. "I was leaning ... I was pretty excited when the umpire made the fair signal."
Adam Jones led off the eighth with a walk against KC's Tim Collins (1-1), who got Chris Davis on a called third strike after that. Royals manager Ned Yost went to the bullpen for the righty Hochevar, who tried to pick off Jones at first only to throw the ball away and allow Jones to scamper to second.
That's when Wieters batted from the left side, where he blasted a two-run double to right field in the first inning, and put the Orioles ahead for good.
The drama came following a 48-minute rain delay in the seventh inning, after which the Orioles lost their 3-1 lead when Brian Matusz gave up a two-run home run to Alex Gordon.
"You've just got to stay focused," Wieters said. "Whether we had the delay or not, you're still going to have to play 27 outs and you're going to have to hopefully be ahead at the end. Brian was throwing the ball well, he just made one pitch that Gordon got a hold of. It was still tied, it's still a new ballgame at that time."
Jim Johnson converted his 12th save and Tommy Hunter (2-1) earned the win in relief. Meanwhile, the Royals fell to 17-11 after winning seven of 10 entering Tuesday.
Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen lasted until one out in the seventh, when the rain came. Matusz came in with a runner on first and got one out before Gordon launched his homer over the out-of-town scoreboard in right field. Matusz allowed an inherited runner to score for the first time since becoming a full-time relief pitcher.
"Every time I go out there, I want to prevent those runners from scoring. That's the name of the game," Matusz said. "I felt terrible blowing the game for Chen. He pitched great for us today. I wanted to give him a W."
The Orioles have lacked offense when Chen pitches - they've scored three runs or fewer while he was in the game 22 times in his last 32 starts - but they improved to 17-5 when they score four or more runs.
Baltimore snapped Ervin Santana's streak of 13 scoreless innings in the first thanks to consecutive singles from Manny Machado, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones. Wieters followed with his double to right-center, and by the end of the frame Santana had thrown 33 pitches.
The Royals' starter settled down and retired 12 in a row before Nate McLouth singled with two outs in the fifth.
The Orioles also turned three double plays to back up Chen, who scattered nine singles, walked none and struck out two in 6 1-3 innings.
"When you don't walk people and you catch the baseball the way we did tonight," said manager Buck Showalter, "you give yourself a chance to win those types of games."