Orioles win fourth in a row

BALTIMORE - Wednesday was a productive night for the Baltimore Orioles.

The team capitalized off all the Kansas City Royals' errors, extended a season-high win streak, clinched another series win, had a record-tying performance from its closer and moved into a first place tie atop the American League East.

The Orioles scored three runs in the fifth, benefiting from a trio of Royals blunders, to put away Kansas City 5-3 before 12,344 at Camden Yards. It's Baltimore's season-high fourth win in a row and its second straight series win.

The Orioles are now a season-high eight games above .500 and moved into a tie for first place in the division after Boston's loss.

"I find it just good baseball," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the team's recent play. "It's what allows you to be consistent."

Despite getting outhit for the third game in a row, Baltimore pushed across runs when it needed to and earned the win, much like the first two.

After Chris Dickerson doubled to lead off the fifth, the Orioles (21-13) were aggressive in their attempt to extend a 2-1 lead. Nate McLouth hit a grounder to shortstop Alcides Escobar, but Escobar threw the ball away trying to get Dickerson out at third, giving Baltimore runners on first and third.

Manny Machado hit a single to left, scoring Dickerson and moving McLouth to third. Then, the Royals' poor fielding came into play.

Machado stole second, but Royals catcher George Kottaras threw it past Escobar, allowing McLouth to score from third. Escobar attempted to throw McLouth out at home, but threw it past Kottaras, allowing Machado to reach third.

Machado then scored on a wild pitch by Luis Mendoza (0-2), giving the Orioles a 5-1 lead the Royals (17-13) could not come back from.

"When we can pick up on errors like that, it's huge," Machado said. "That brings up the momentum for us and brings it down for them. That's baseball."

Orioles closer Jim Johnson earned his 34th consecutive save, tying Randy Myers for the longest streak of successful save conversions in team history. Johnson is a perfect 13 for 13 this year.

"I try to be aggressive and force contact," Johnson said. "That's about it. Those are my secrets."

J.J. Hardy got the offense started early for Baltimore. He blasted a 1-1 pitch to left field for a two-run homer, his third in four games.

Hardy is batting .389 over his last five games.

"I feel better," Hardy said. "I still feel I could get more comfortable, but I'll take the results for sure."

Chris Tillman (3-1) had a solid outing, giving up three runs on five hits over six innings. However, he gave up all three runs on a pair of home runs by Kansas City's Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas.

Gordon's homer ended a 15-inning scoreless streak for Tillman. In his last four starts, Tillman is 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA

"His fastball wasn't quite as crisp," Showalter said. "I think both home runs were changeups, but that's also what helped him get through the game. He had to use all his pitches. Gave us a chance."

Baltimore has won five of six, as well as six of the last seven series, and continues to do it with production throughout the whole lineup. Hardy said the team is being smarter on the basepaths, much like in the fifth inning, and that's increasing their offensive production.

"Any time Nate gets on base, you feel like he's just going to second base, not even waiting for pitches," Hardy said. "Manny's running, [there's] a lot of guys running bases a lot better. So that makes it more weapons."

Machado said he doesn't want to say the team is playing the best baseball it can, but it is playing well early in the season.

"We're playing good baseball, getting guys over when we need to, getting guys in, playing great defense, the bullpen's pitching well," Machado said. "I think if we keep doing that, it's going to be a good long year for us."

NOTE: Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts is undergoing a semitendinosus release, which is a surgery on his right hamstring, on Thursday morning. The procedure will be done by Dr. Daniel Cooper at the Carrell Clinic in Dallas.

Roberts will be out six weeks and will report to Sarasota, Fla., following the surgery. Roberts has been out since April 4, when he injured his hamstring sliding into second base in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

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