xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Orioles follow familiar script, losing late lead in 6-4 defeat to Royals

KANSAS CITY, MO. — Now that it’s September, the Orioles are in their final month of games like Sunday’s, featuring passable starts from their pitchers, quick offensive answers, but just a little lacking from their bullpen and their bats late.

That recipe cooked up a 6-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday at Kaufmann Stadium, the Orioles’ second late-inning defeat in as many days, to drop to 45-91 entering Labor Day.

Advertisement

“I think the games that we’ve won, we’ve pitched,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We get guys out that we should get out late in the game. The games that we’ve won, our starters have given us a chance and our bullpen has held on to leads and gotten guys out. The games we’ve lost, we just do a really nice job of battling back, and we’re having a tough time holding leads.”

The first inning was simple enough, with Hanser Alberto singling to open the game off left-handed starter Danny Duffy and coming around to score. Aaron Brooks, who was riding a run of two straight quality starts, allowed three runs in a long first inning to erase that early lead.

Advertisement

The deficit stood until the third inning, when Trey Mancini hit a two-run single. Brooks pitched into the fifth before ceding to Richard Bleier. Jonathan Villar singled, stole second, went to third on a throwing error and beat the throw home on a grounder by Pedro Severino to give the Orioles a brief 4-3 lead.

Bleier got five outs on 15 pitches in the fifth and sixth, but a leadoff single in the seventh chased him. Miguel Castro, Paul Fry and Shawn Armstrong all pitched in the inning, and Kansas City scored twice. Fry inherited a runner on third and two outs, but allowed a double to left-handed hitter Alex Gordon, who came around to score on a single by Meibrys Viloria two batters later against Armstrong after the right-hander walked the first batter he faced coming off the injured list.

“You just feel like you like Paul Fry on any left-hander, and it doesn’t happen,” Hyde said. “Army comes in a game against a right-hander and walks him. Walks kill you, and we just didn’t get it done in the seventh inning.”

Armstrong allowed a home run to Whit Merrifield in the eighth to create the Orioles’ final deficit.

“We had the lead in the seventh or eighth inning, and it’s just unfortunate that it ended up turning around the other way,” shortstop Richie Martin said. “It just goes to show how competitive a team we are. I think when you continue to stay on this path and follow what the staff and the front office is preaching, then those games are going to turn our way. Hopefully, it’s sooner than later.”

Brooks battles back

Brooks allowed three runs on four hits with a pair of walks in a marathon first inning, but found his form to get the Orioles deeper into the game in the former Royals farmhand’s return to Kansas City.

“I just thought he had a tough time finding his rhythm, and it just didn’t look like — a lot of sliders in the middle," Hyde said. “I didn’t think he had his fastball command, but he settled in and did a nice job after the first inning.”

Said Brooks: “I didn’t have feel for any of my pitches, so kind of had to grind a little bit, nibbled a little bit, threw too many balls and fell behind and they got a few base hits when they needed to."

Martin shows speed

Martin had two hits, including an infield single, and his eighth stolen base of the season in the loss. He now has 12 multi-hit games in 79 starts, and 16 of his 52 hits this year are infield singles. He said taking advantage of his speed, like he did Sunday, will be one of his points of emphasis in the final month of the season.

“I think that I have to utilize all my skill sets in order to be effective,” Martin said.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement