Kansas City Royals

Orioles stick it to Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Done in by your own ballpark? It happened Wednesday night to the Royals in a 3-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles that snapped a four-game winning streak.

The pivotal play occurred in the eighth inning with the Orioles leading 3-1.

Alcides Escobar grounded a one-out single into center against reliever Jim Johnson after Orioles starter Jake Arrieta dazzled the Royals for seven innings.

Mike Aviles followed with a line drive into the left-center gap that wedged under the outfield pad. Outfielders Felix Pie and Adam Jones immediately signaled for a dead ball and made no attempt to play the ball even as Aviles circled the bases.

Second-base umpire Tim Welke, the crew chief, went out to examine the ball, and quickly ruled it a ground-rule double. That sent the runners back to second and third with one out.

If the ball stays in play, Escobar scores easily and Aviles possibly winds up at third — all with one out.

Instead, the Royals settled for one run in the inning.

Escobar scored and Aviles moved to third on Melky Cabrera's grounder to second. Mike Gonzalez then replaced Johnson, for a lefty-lefty matchup against Alex Gordon, and stranded the tying run at third when Gordon flied out to left.

Orioles closer Kevin Gregg closed out the victory with a scoreless ninth for his sixth save. That rewarded Arrieta, who improved to 4-1 after permitting just one run and three hits in seven innings.

The Royals put the tying run on base in the ninth against Gregg when Jeff Francoeur drew a one-out walk. Francouer's homer in the second inning provided the Royals with their first run.

Francoeur moved to second on Wilson Betemit's fly to deep left, but Gregg ended the game by retiring Kila Ka'aihue on a routine fly to right.

Nick Markakis provided the Orioles with much of their offense while breaking out of an extended slump (12 for 70 in his previous 17 games). His RBI single made it 2-0 in the second inning, and his bases-empty homer in seventh was the eventual winning run.

The loss snapped the Royals' third four-game winning streak of the season. It also kept them from posting a major-league-best 14th home victory.

Royals right-hander Kyle Davies (1-4) produced a quality start for the third time in his last four outings but, again, got nothing positive to show for it. He gave up three runs and seven hits while throwing 107 pitches in 6 1/3 innings.

Davies found quick trouble in the first inning when Brian Roberts led off with a double into the right-center gap on an 0-2 pitch. Roberts came around to score on two fly balls. The Orioles threatened for more, with a two-out walk and single, but settled for one run.

The Royals missed a chance to counter in their first, after Aviles led off with a single, by losing a gamble on aggressive base-running.

Cabrera followed Aviles' single with a sharp grounder to third that Mark Reynolds booted for an error. Aviles tried for third when Reynolds made a belated throw to first. That resulted in an out when Derrek Lee made a strong return throw.

The inning fizzled from there.

Davies surrendered another run in the second after Reynolds reached on a one-out single and went to third when Robert Andino was hit by a pitch. Davies retired Roberts on a fly to right, but Markakis delivered an RBI single for a 2-0 lead.

Andino tried to score all the way from first and was cut down at the plate.

Francoeur got one run back when he opened the Royals' second with his club-leading eighth homer of the season - a 394-foot drive that stayed just fair down the left-field line.

Arrieta also issued two-out walks to Matt Treanor and Alcides Escobar but struck out Aviles on a slider that darted out of the strike zone.

The Orioles put runners at first and third with two outs in the fifth when Davies walked Lee and yielded a single by Luke Scott on a hard grounder past first. But Jones ended the inning on a foul pop to first.

Markakis made it 3-1 with a one-out homer in the seventh into the right-field bullpen. Davies then hit the next batter, Lee, before departing. Scott greeted Nate Adcock with a hit-and run single that moved Lee to third.

But Adcock stranded both runners by striking out Jones and retiring Matt Wieters on a grounder to second.