KANSAS CITY, Mo. —It's been a while since the Royals went extra innings — over two weeks — so what the heck? They went 10 innings Tuesday night before pulling out a 6-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium.
Jeff Francoeur produced a game-winning sacrifice fly that provided the Royals with their fifth walk-off victory of the season. It was also their sixth extra-inning game.
Francoeur's sac fly capped a big personal night. He also had a double in a three-run second inning and a game-tying homer in the sixth after the Orioles rallied for a 5-4 lead.
The Royals (16-13) have won four in a row at home since returning from a ghastly 0-6 road trip through Texas and Cleveland.
Alex Gordon started the winning rally with a four-pitch walk against Jason Berken (0-2). Billy Butler followed with a single up the middle that sent Gordon to third and forced the Orioles to tighten their infield.
That strategy worked when Baltimore escaped a first-and-third jam with one out in the ninth. But not this time.
When Francoeur lifted a 2-0 pitch to medium right field, Gordon charged home, and made it easily when the throw by Nick Markakis was far off line.
Tim Collins, the sixth Royals' pitcher, got the victory and improved to 2-1 by stranding the go-ahead runner at second after replacing Jeremy Jeffress in the top of the inning. Five relievers combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings after starter Jeff Francis departed.
The Royals missed a great chance to win the game in the ninth inning after putting runners at first and third with one out. Brayan Pen~a sliced a one-out double to left and went to third when shortstop Robert Andino booted Alcides Escobar's hard grounder.
The Orioles shortened their infield, and the move paid off when Chris Getz hit a routine grounder to first. Pen~a tried to score on the play and was an easy out. Escobar reached third on the rundown.
Berken escaped by retiring Melky Cabrera on a grounder to first.
That came after Cesar Izturis opened the Baltimore ninth with a single against Joakim Soria, but Andino struck out by failing in three attempts to execute a sacrifice — including a foul tip on a 1-2 pitch. Soria ended the mild threat by retiring the next two hitters.
Francis failed to hold leads of 3-0 and 4-3 and is now winless in his 13 games (12 starts) since last July 30, when he beat the Cubs for the Rockies. He still managed a no-decision after allowing five runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Baltimore starter Brad Bergesen lasted just five innings but handed a 5-4 lead to Jeremy Accardo. Bergesen allowed four runs and six hits, but his chance for a victory vanished almost immediately.
Francoeur led off the bottom of the sixth with a game-tying homer against Accardo. It stayed 5-5 until the Francoeur's game-winning sac fly.
The Royals opened the scoring with a three-run second inning after Butler led off with a four-pitch walk and moved to second on Francoeur's single through the left side.
Wilson Betemit followed with an RBI double off the right-field wall. Mike Aviles then punched a liner back through the box that caromed off Bergesen and past Andino for another (if completely different) RBI double.
Pen~a made it 3-0 with a sacrifice fly to deep right center. Aviles moved to third and tried to score on Escobar's sharp grounder to third — but was thrown out at the plate by Mark Reynolds.
The Orioles got it all back with two outs in the fourth on a three-run homer by Luke Scott. It could have been worse. The inning started with Derrek Lee getting thrown out by Francoeur when trying to stretch a single into a double.
Francis then gave up two more singles, by Vladimir Guerrero and Adam Jones on grounders through the right side, before Scott unloaded a 381-foot drive into the right-field bullpen.
Sloppy defense betrayed Bergesen in the fifth.
Getz reached on an error when Izturis bobbled a routine grounder to second. Getz came all the way around for the go-ahead run when Scott showed no urgency in playing Cabrera's slicing double to left.
Francis started the sixth by walking Guerrero and Reynolds. Guerrero's walk was his first of the year after 115 plate appearances — an Orioles record to start a season. That led to the tying run when Jones looped an RBI single into right.
The runners moved to second and third on Scott's slow grounder to short, which shortened the infield for Matt Wieters, who gave Baltimore the lead on a sacrifice fly to deep right. Francoeur made a fine running catch to prevent extra bases.
Even so, it finished Francis.