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Rookie Keegan Akin hit hard as Orioles open second half of season with 9-2 loss to Royals

There’s no reset button when it comes to the Orioles pitching staff. Day game after a night game or four days off, the struggles continue apace.

Rookie left-hander Keegan Akin was hit hard and often as the Orioles opened the second half of the season with a 9-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.

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Akin, fresh from a strong relief outing before the break, allowed one run in the first inning, four in the second and another in the third to raise his ERA 8.19 in his rookie season to put the game out of reach early.

“Just poor pitch selection and didn’t miss many barrels,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Had a tough night.”

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César Valdez followed him with three shutout innings before newcomer Shaun Anderson allowed three runs in the seventh inning.

The Orioles (28-62) had six hits — a pair of singles from Cedric Mullins, and three, including a home run, by Pedro Severino.

Anthony Santander added a ninth-inning infield single.

Miss that guy

The Orioles’ infield has been a misfit collection all year, and seeing old pal Hanser Alberto for the Royals won’t make anyone feel better about that.

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Alberto, one of the most productive hitters in the majors against left-handed pitchers, doubled twice against Akin and scored each time.

López could return Saturday

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said right-hander Jorge López, who was placed on the bereavement list Wednesday, was attempting to return to the team in Kansas City on Friday and would start Saturday if he’s able to.

López last pitched on July 9, and Hyde said he wanted to give him an extended rest at the All-Star break. His 18 starts are most on the team.

Norby begins draft signings

The Orioles signed second-round second baseman Connor Norby to begin the process of signing their 21 picks from this week’s MLB draft. Norby, the 41st overall pick, signed for $1.7 million, below the slot of $1.81 million recommended for the pick. The Orioles can transfer those savings on to bonuses for the other picks.

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