Mike Wright was well on his way to giving the Orioles one of their best starting-pitching performances of the season Sunday afternoon, holding the Kansas City Royals to a pair of solo homers through six innings, but his outing unraveled quickly in an ugly seventh inning that led to a 6-1 loss in their rubber match at Kauffman Stadium.
Wright was chased from the game four batters into Kansas City’s four-run seventh and was ultimately charged with five runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings.
The Orioles, who had 14 hits against the Royals on Saturday, managed just four in Sunday’s series finale, including just two that left the infield.
“I thought he pitched well the whole time,” manager Buck Showalter said of Wright. “Mike did his part. He was good. I loved the fact that he walked [none]. … That’s a quality start for us. We had four guys we weren’t going to use in the bullpen today. We needed that from Mike. We just didn’t do much offensively.”
For most of the afternoon, the right-hander pitched far better than his pitching line would indicate. He allowed a solo homer to Alex Gordon in the fourth, a first-pitch sinker away that Gordon barely sent over the left-field fence. Eric Hosmer also homered off Wright, hitting a 0-1 slider down the right-field line. Both came with two outs in the inning.
“The pitch to Gordon was exactly what I wanted to throw,” Wright said. “The one to Hosmer, we threw a little bit of a slower slider. If you look at it, it wasn't a bad pitch. I felt pretty good about it. Was it my best pitch? No, it was my fourth-best pitch, and he got it. That’s the one pitch, probably to Hosmer, I wish I could take back. But the rest of the game? Perfect.”
Wright allowed just four hits through six innings, mixing his slider and changeup well with his fastball and sinker, but the Royals opened the floodgates in the seventh. Their surge started with a leadoff infield single by Gordon down the first-base line that Showalter and Wright said might have been foul.
Gordon scored on the next at-bat on Christian Colon’s RBI double. Two batters later, Drew Butera doubled in another run, and Wright was pulled for right-hander Dylan Bundy.
“I was strong, I made good pitches,” Wright said. “It was a ground ball that could have been called foul. Chris [Davis] didn't handle it extremely well. I still got there. He outran it. The double that Butera hit, that’s a good pitch. I don't want to take that back. It crept a little over the plate, but you can’t be perfect. I still felt strong.”
The Orioles have just three quality starts over their first 17 games. Orioles starters have a 5.32 ERA and have allowed 95 hits over 86 1/3 innings.
One day after scoring eight runs with strong situational hitting, the Orioles scored just one Sunday, on Mark Trumbo’s two-out RBI single in the first inning off Yordano Ventura, who needed 28 pitches to get out of the opening frame.
The right-hander settled in quickly and allowed just three hits over seven innings. He surrendered one hit — Caleb Joseph’s one-out single in the fifth — over his final six innings.
“We got him up to 28 [pitches in the first], and then he got back in step,” Showalter said of Ventura. “I don’t think it was as much what we didn’t do as what he did do. We didn’t play very well in the infield today, either. That didn’t help us.”
Replay benefits Orioles: The Orioles were the beneficiaries of two base-running calls reversed by replay.
After reaching on a leadoff single in the fifth, Jarrod Dyson initially was called safe at second base while attempting to advance on a high pitch that skipped off Joseph’s mitt.
But replay overturned that call, erasing the leadoff runner and leading to a 1-2-3 inning for Wright.
With Colon on second with no outs in the seventh, Dyson bunted to first. Davis charged the ball and went to third to get the lead runner. Colon was called out, and after a Royals challenge, that call was confirmed.
Ventura dominant against O’s: Ventura allowed just one run on three hits over seven innings, striking out four and walking two, to improve to 3-1 all time against the Orioles with a 1.91 ERA.
In his past two home starts against the Orioles, Ventura has allowed just one run in 13 innings.
“Same thing he’s been doing,” Showalter said of Ventura. “Plus fastball, good changeup, breaking ball, throws it behind in the count. Good pitchers are people who you know what they’re going to do and they still do it. That’s a tribute to his stuff.”
Machado’s hitting streak ends: After going hitless in four plate appearances Sunday, Manny Machado’s season-opening hitting streak was over at 16 games, one shy of the club record.
His streak ended just short of Davey Johnson’s 17-game hitting streak to start the 1971 season.
Machado drew a walk in his first at-bat, meaning he has reached safely in all 17 games.