BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles did something Wednesday versus the Kansas City Royals that they haven’t been able to very often this year — come up with hits in crucial situations.
They’ll hope to carry that over into the Thursday game. If the Orioles can continue getting hits at the right time, it would help struggling Chris Tillman, who needs a better start than his last one as he takes on Ian Kennedy in the series finale with the Royals.
Baltimore (9-27) can win the series with the Royals (12-24) after they split the first two games. That would help the struggling Orioles a lot in terms of confidence. Their 5-3 victory over Kansas City on Wednesday snapped a seven-game losing streak mostly because of two timely hits.
Chris Davis hit a three-run homer in the fourth, and Mark Trumbo lined a two-run single in the eighth to account for the five Baltimore runs. The biggest plus from all that is both those hits came with two out.
Manager Buck Showalter talked after the game about the importance of Trumbo and Jonathan Schoop returning from the disabled list but also of how the team continues grinding and working hard, something that’s been difficult during such a horrific start.
“I like the way they’re going about it,” Showalter said. “I’m proud of (that).”
The Orioles now hope Tillman (1-5, 9.24 ERA) can show the form he showed two starts ago when he earned his first win since last May by throwing seven shutout innings against the Tigers.
But last time, the Angels rocked him for seven runs in one-plus innings, and if Tillman struggles again, the Orioles might be moving closer to having to make a painful decision.
Tillman is 3-3 with a 5.37 ERA versus the Royals in his career.
Kennedy (1-3, 2.92) has pitched well for the Royals this season but just hasn’t gotten the wins. The right-hander has lost three in a row but hasn’t done badly although Kansas City can’t seem to score too many runs for him.
The veteran has an 0-2 record with a 6.89 ERA against the Orioles in his career.
The Royals have had problems on offense at times this year, but Alex Gordon has given the Royals some punch at the plate. He’s batting .313 after making a mechanical adjustment late last year, according to MLB.com, something he worked on through the winter.
“I think the key is just to keep the bat in the zone longer,” Gordon said to MLB.com. “Good things happen.”
The Orioles haven’t had many good things happening with their pitching in recent days. That continued Wednesday when they placed Darren O’Day on the 10-day disabled list because of a hyper-extended right elbow.
That move is retroactive to Sunday, so the set-up man could be back in a week if all goes well. O’Day had not pitched since last Friday and has an 0-1 record with a 3.77 ERA in 13 games so far this year.
Baltimore called up left-hander Tanner Scott to take O’Day’s spot as the Orioles keep making moves in their bullpen, hoping to find the right mix.