BALTIMORE | Just when it seemed the Royals were about to prompt an EPA investigation Thursday night for wasting a rare homer by Tony Peňa, they flattened the Baltimore Orioles with a seven-run sixth inning and claimed a 10-7 victory at Camden Yards.
All of it.
Peňa did hit a homer, his first since last Sept. 27; and the Royals did score seven runs in the sixth inning. That funneled the game to Ron Mahay and Joakim Soria in the late innings.
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The Royals can't ask for more than that.
The seven-run inning was the Royals' biggest explosion since scoring eight times in the second inning on June 14, 2007 in a 17-8 victory over the Cardinals at Kauffman Stadium.
They Royals haven't scored seven in one inning on the road since Sept. 30, 2006 at Detroit in the first inning of a 9-6 victory.
This comeback allowed reliever Joel Peralta, 1-2, to gain his first victory since May 20, 2007. He pitched two scoreless innings after replacing ineffective Kyle Davies before Mahay and Soria did their stuff.
Soria worked a one-two-three ninth, with two strikeouts, for his 23rd save in 24 opportunities. That secured a split for the Royals in the four-game series.
Adam Loewen, 0-2, was the loser; he allowed three hits to the only three batters he faced in the sixth.
Mark Grudzielanek led a 13-hit attack with a double and three singles for his second four-hit game in five days. He new needs just eight hits to reach 2,000 for his career. José Guillen had two hits and his three RBIs boosted his season total to 64 — or two more than Emil Brown’s 2007 club-leading total.
Billy Butler hit his first homer since April 14 and, yes, Peňa had two hits, including his first homer since last Sept. 25. David DeJesus also extended his hitting streak to 15 games, which matches a career best.
Lots of offense.
There needed to be because Davies took a step back to his maddening inconsistent past. He breezed through the Orioles for three innings before encountering problems in the fourth, when he couldn’t quell a big inning.
Davies exited in the fifth without getting an out and the Orioles leading 7-3. His final toll was seven runs and eight hits in four-plus innings — and a Houdini-esque no-decision.
The Royals built a 3-0 lead against Orioles starter Garrett Olson on Butler’s leadoff homer in the second and Peňa’s leadoff homer in a two-run third.
The Orioles stormed back with that five-run fourth, which Aubrey Huff ignited with a one-out homer. It was the first of Huff's two homers and boosted his season total to 17.
Davies surrendered the other four runs with two outs, including three on back-to-back triples by Adam Jones and Brandon Fahey.
Davies' problems continued in the fifth when Nick Markakis led off with a single, and Huff followed with his second homer of the game. That extended Baltimore's lead to 7-3 and finished Davies.
The Royals started their seven-run sixth when Olson issued a four-pitch walk to Guillen. Butler's double put runners at second and third before Miguel Olivo struck out.
The inning really turned when first baseman Kevin Millar then bungled Mark Teahen's run-scoring grounder to first. The Orioles then went to their bullpen, and the Royals feasted.
Ross Gload, Peňa and David DeJesus rapped successive singles against Loewen, which trimmed the lead to 7-6. Submariner Chad Bradford replaced Loewen and surrendered an RBI single to Grudzielanek, which tied the game.
Gordon’s sacrifice fly gave the Royals an 8-7 lead before Guillen lined a two-run single up the middle.