This was a heck of a way for the Royals to see their four-game winning streak come to end – by wasting seven shutout innings Wednesday night by Felipe Paulino before losing 4-3 to the Baltimore Orioles in 15 innings.
Adam Jones crushed a 2-2 pitch from Nate Adcock for a 431-foot homer to left field with one out in the 15th inning. That was after the Orioles forced extra innings by scoring twice in the ninth against Royals closer Jonathan Broxton.
Adcock (0-1) gave up just the one run in five innings and escaped a few earlier threats before Jones, hitless in six previous at-bats, hit his 12th homer of the season.
Kevin Gregg (1-1) got the victory, after working two innings, when Jim Johnson closed out the Royals by pitching around Johnny Giavotella’s two-out single for his 13th save. The game lasted 4 hours, 10 minutes.
Broxton inherited a 3-1 lead to start to ninth but served up a one-out homer to Wilson Betemit. Chris Davis followed with a single, but Roberto Andino flied to center for the second out.
But Broxton couldn’t secure the victory that Paulino deserved. Xavier Avery and J.J. Hardy delivered two-out singles – and Hardy’s single enabled pinch-runner Ryan Flaherty to score the tying run from second.
Flaherty just beat – but clearly beat – the throw home by center fielder Jarrod Dyson. It was Broxton’s first blown save in eight chances since coughing up a one-run lead April 11 in Oakland by hitting two batters in the 12th inning with the bases loaded.
Paulino permitted just five hits in his seven innings while striking out nine and walking two. He has allowed only four earned runs in 18 2/3 innings over three starts since returning from the disabled list.
Kelvin Herrera inherited a 2-0 lead to start the eighth and immediately surrendered successive doubles to Hardy and Markakis.
Herrera struck out Jones before catcher Quintero threw out Markakis on an attempted steal of third. Matt Wieters ended the inning with a grounder to second.
The Royals answered that run later in the inning after Billy Butler sliced a two-out single to right against Troy Patton. After Mitch Maier replaced Butler as a pinch-runner, Alex Gordon yanked a 1-2 slider into the right-field corner for an RBI double.
That made it 3-1 for Broxton.
Adcock pitched around a threat in the Baltimore 12th after Hardy grounded a one-out single off the glove of shortstop Alcides Escobar and went to second on Markakis’ fly to deep center.
Jones fouled out to third baseman Mike Moustakas.
Adcock also worked around Nick Johnson’s one-out double in the 13th.
Say this about Jones’ game-winner: It was no cheapie.
Baltimore starter Tommy Hunter was nearly as good as Paulino in limiting the Royals to two runs and seven hits in seven innings. The Orioles’ two-run ninth against Broxton took him off the hook for a loss.
The Orioles mounted a threat in the third when Andino led off with a single, and Avery followed with a sacrifice bunt that turned into a fielder’s choice when Paulino threw low to second.
Hardy’s sharp grounder to third resulted in a double play when Moustakas stepped on third and threw to second for a force. Markakis’ high-chop single over first moved Hardy to third, but Jones lined out to left.
The Royals put runners at first and second in the fourth when Dyson led off with a walk, and Butler lined a one-out single to right. But Gordon’s liner to first ended the inning when Butler was doubled off first.
It was the Royals’ third double play in four innings.
The Royals broke through in the fifth after Jeff Francoeur led off with a double. Hunter hit Escobar with a one-out pitch, and the runners moved to second and third when Chris Getz grounded out to first.
Quintero drove in both runners by grounding a 1-2 off-speed pitch into center field for a single.
Paulino carried that 2-0 lead into the seventh, when Betemit led off with a double over Gordon’s head in left. But Paulino closed his night’s work by retiring the next three hitters.
The Royals put runners at first and third with two outs in their seventh after singles by Moustakas and Irving Falu – and aided by a Hardy throwing error. Moustakas’ single extended his streak of reaching base to 23 straight games.
That gave Quintero another shot, but he grounded out to third.