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Orioles top Royals 14-2, give John Means happy homecoming with season-high 21-hit barrage

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - AUGUST 30: Anthony Santander #25 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates his three-run home run with Hanser Alberto #57 and Trey Mancini #16 in the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 30, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - AUGUST 30: Anthony Santander #25 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates his three-run home run with Hanser Alberto #57 and Trey Mancini #16 in the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 30, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) (Ed Zurga/Getty)

KANSAS CITY — A relentless and comprehensive Orioles offense backed up a dream start from All-Star left-hander John Means on Friday in a 14-2 over the Kansas City Royals at Kaufmann Stadium, spurred by leadoff man Hanser Alberto’s career-high five-hit night.

Means allowed a first-inning home run to Jorge Soler but little else, pitching a career-high seven innings, and the Orioles made sure he wasn’t trailing for long.

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“Win by 12?” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We haven’t had a whole lot of those type of games, so it’s nice to be on this side once in a while.”

After drawing even in the second inning, they spent the night building one of the most comfortable leads they’ve had all season in a variety of ways. Their 21 hits and 14 runs were both season-highs.

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As part of a three-hit, three-steal night, Jonathan Villar started their scoring in the second inning with a single, stole second, and scored when Pedro Severino singled to right field.

Anthony Santander had a three-run homer in a five-run third inning, and Alberto drove in two with a two-out single in the fifth inning. It was his fourth hit of the day.

Villar’s third steal of the night was perhaps his most impressive, as he stood off third base and goaded a throw back to the base from catcher Nick Dini in the seventh inning. Villar took off and became the first Oriole to steal home since Chance Sisco did on May 12, 2018.

The Orioles’ previous season-high in hits was 18, set in the July 25 marathon against the Los Angeles Angels, a game that lasted 16 innings. They scored 13 runs in back-to-back shutout wins over the Cleveland Indians on June 28 and June 29.

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Severino’s four hits tied a career-high, while Trey Mancini, Jace Peterson, Renato Núñez and DJ Stewart also had multi-hit games. Peterson’s came off the bench.

Happy homecoming

Returning to the Orioles after spending the week on the family medical emergency list, Means made his first start at the ballpark in which he used to come watch games as a kid and made quick work of his old favorite team.

Using just 74 pitches through seven innings, Means allowed two runs on five hits with four strikeouts to win his 10th game. The spacious confines of his hometown’s stadium meant the fly-ball pitcher had plenty of room to work with, and an outfield of DJ Stewart, Stevie Wilkerson and Anthony Santander covered a lot of ground in his defense.

“That was one of the things when you’re coming in that you don’t know as a fan, just attack because this outfield is pretty big,” Means said.

Three of the five hits Means surrendered came in a three-pitch span in the fourth inning, but he shut the door after that, lowering his ERA from 3.61 to 3.55.

Newcomer Ryan Eades made his Orioles debut with two innings of relief.

Hanser the hitter

Alberto’s first three hits came off Royals lefty starter Eric Skoglund, which gave him 75 hits off left-handers this year. That broke Rafael Palmeiro’s Orioles record from 1998.

Alberto’s last hit came off Royals outfielder Alex Gordon in the ninth inning, and raised his average to .324 — the highest it has been since May 1.

“It feels pretty good, but it feels better when you’ve got a W, you know?,” Alberto said. “It was a great team win tonight, and we celebrated.”

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