Last night's win against Kansas City was, incredibly, the Orioles' 10th straight victory against the Royals. The Orioles won all seven of their matchups last season and took two of three in a July 2006 series at Kauffman Stadium. The last time the Royals won against Baltimore was July 25, 2006, when Mark Redman earned the 7-5 victory. Kris Benson started for the Orioles and Kurt Birkins was saddled with the loss. The Orioles haven't won so many consecutive games against one opponent since 1996-97, when they had an 11-game streak against the Detroit Tigers, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
The Orioles have had trouble getting clutch hits, so they used a bad throw to score their first run. With Nick Markakis on third base, Aubrey Huff on first and two outs in the first inning, Royals rookie pitcher Luke Hochevar threw a breaking ball past catcher John Buck. The ball rolled to the screen while Markakis dashed home. Buck threw back to Hochevar, who couldn't handle the toss. Huff made it all the way to third, but was stranded when Kevin Millar grounded out.
Freddie Bynum had a nice start to his 2008 season. Given the starting shortstop job when he returned yesterday from March knee surgery, Bynum singled to right in his first big-league at-bat of the year to lead off the third inning. He scored on Markakis' three-run homer. He had a broken-bat single to lead off the fifth. Bynum also cleanly fielded the first ball hit to him at shortstop in the first inning and made a clean, backhanded play on a grounder in the third.
Orioles right-hander Steve Trachsel (1-4, 7.43), who hasn't lasted beyond three full innings in three of his past four starts, needs to start pitching effectively to keep his spot in the rotation secure. Last year, Trachsel dominated the Royals, allowing two runs in 16 innings pitched. Tonight at 8:10, he'll face Kansas City's $55 million man Gil Meche (2-4, 5.98), who is coming off his best outing of the season (seven shutout innings versus Cleveland). Meche has a career 2.95 ERA against the Orioles in 15 starts, but he has a personal four-game losing streak against them dating back to 2005.