The Orioles usually only have advance meetings before the first game of a series, where they go over scouting reports for their upcoming opponents. But before facing Kansas City Royals starter Johnny Cueto on Wednesday night, the club held an advance meeting dedicated to solving the quirky right-hander.

The preparation paid off, as the Orioles hit three two-run homers off Cueto, scoring six runs on eight hits over five innings against him in a much-needed 8-5 win over the Royals, halting their season-worst six-game losing streak.


Cueto offers a lot to prepare for. He throws hitters off balance in a number of ways. He has a quick-pitch delivery that varies greatly from his typical deliberate motion. He can throw quickly, but also step off the mound for long moments between pitches.

The message to the Orioles was clear: Get in the box quickly and be ready for a quick delivery. It forced the Orioles to concentrate on their at-bats. It made them pay attention to every pitch. Maybe that's what the Orioles needed to break out of their funk.

"He messes with people's timing," said left fielder Steve Pearce, who hit one of the Orioles' five homers on the night, even though his came off former Oriole Jeremy Guthrie. "He has those quick pitches and then takes a long time to pitch. When you get in the box, you've got to be ready. We just grinded."

** After the game, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he didn't know how long the losing streak had been, saying he was only aware when MASN play-by-play man Gary Thorne informed him in a postgame interview.

Take that for what it is worth, but Showalter said that his team has tried its best to break out of its rut. He talked about how first baseman Chris Davis, whose two-run homer in the fifth gave the Orioles a 6-2 lead, didn't take batting practice Wednesday because of blisters on his hands from swinging so much in recent days.

"It's a reminder how hard these guys are grinding," Showalter said. "Because you don't hear about it, and you don't see it all the time, it doesn't mean they're not trying to make it happen yesterday."

** Jonathan Schoop continues to give the Orioles some clutch home runs. His two-run shot in the fourth gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead, his sixth homer in 10 this season that has either tied the game (two) or given the Orioles the lead (four).

Since returning from a right knee injury that cost him nearly three months, Schoop is hitting .307 (47-for-153) with seven homers and 23 RBIs in 44 games (41 starts).

Manny Machado's game-tying two-run homer in the third extended his career-high total to 26. That's the most by any Orioles third baseman since Melvin Mora hit 27 in 2005.

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