An Orioles offense that returned home this week and became as close to whole as it’s been all season erased another daunting first-inning deficit and pummeled the visiting Royals, 11-6, to take this three-game set in front of an announced 17,842 at Camden Yards and improve to 10-27.
After Chris Tillman allowed a grand slam four batters into the game, the Orioles' bats decided they wouldn't stand for another embarrassing blowout. They won consecutive games for the second time this season, and the first time since April 5-6, because of it.
“It was great,” said leadoff man Trey Mancini, who sparked it all. “We know that we have that potential, what we showed tonight. We just put some really good at-bats together and trusted the guys around us to get the job done. And we didn't panic early. Everybody did great tonight.”
With that 4-0 deficit on the scoreboard before he’d stepped into the batter’s box, Mancini doubled and scored on a double by Adam Jones, and Jones scored Manny Machado's 10th home run of the season. Tillman left with a 6-3 deficit in the second inning, but once Miguel Castro came in and started holding the Royals down, the Orioles offense came back to life.
Mancini singled to open the third inning and scored on a home run by Jones, his sixth of the season.
“It happened quickly, and there was a lot of fight there,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I actually thought the other two runs … when they scored to get back to 6-5 [were important]. We strung a lot of good at-bats together. A lot of guys hit the ball the other way, not trying to do too much. ... I think as much as anything, when you kind of settle things down with Miguel, you say, 'OK, we can get some runs here, he's going to settle it in a little bit.’ ”
In the fourth inning, catcher Chance Sisco laced a two-run double to center field and scored when Mancini homered to right field on the ensuing batter. According to STATS, LLC, Mancini and Jones were the first Orioles 1-2 hitters to have three or more hits and score three or more runs since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954.
Big days weren't exclusive to them. Machado reached in four of his five trips to the plate, walking twice and adding an eighth-inning single. Right fielder Mark Trumbo, who doubled and scored on a single by Anthony Santander in the sixth, had two hits and a walk.
“I'm hoping we're starting to get to where you stretch out that lineup and have a lot of places where guys can't breathe,” Showalter said. “We saw some of that tonight. I hope that continues, but sometimes, you're as good as who you're facing the next day. But that's when you need a better pitched game, and maybe do some things with the glove or run the bases. There was a lot of opportunities to give in, and they didn't. I'm proud of them.”
As a unit, the Orioles’ seven extra-base hits were the second most they'd collected in a game all season, behind the nine they had in a 13-8 loss April 19 in Detroit. Their 11 runs were a season-high, too.
The Orioles scored 23 runs in the series, including six in the final two innings of a 15-7 loss Tuesday night and five in a 5-3 win Wednesday night that included a three-run home run by Chris Davis and a two-run single by Trumbo — the latest signs of life for the sleepy offense.
Thursday, against a Royals starter in Ian Kennedy who entered with a 2.92 ERA and left with it at 4.61, the lineup showed more signs of life than it had all year.
“Winning a series is always big,” Mancini said. “Obviously, we've got a long way to go. We know that. You just take it a day at a time and try to string some wins together and try and look up and maybe be in a decent spot. But you can't think too far in the future. You've just got to try and win a game that day.”