BALTIMORE — One bad throw led to another, and then another. And another.
Throw in a wild pitch to cap the comedy of errors, and it’s easy to understand why the Kansas City Royals lost to the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 on Wednesday night.
The Royals got home runs from Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas, and they outhit the Orioles 7-5.
That, however, wasn’t enough to overcome a horrid fifth inning that all but sealed Kansas City’s third straight defeat.
Baltimore went up 5-1 in the fifth, scoring three runs in an uprising fueled by three Kansas City errors and a wild pitch. After Chris Dickerson hit a leadoff double, shortstop Alcides Escobar grabbed Nate McLouth’s sharp grounder and tried to get Dickerson at third, but the throw hit Dickerson to put runners at the corners.
McLouth promptly stole second, and Machado followed with a single to bring home Dickerson. Machado then stole second, and McLouth came home after Escobar couldn’t handle the poor throw from catcher George Kottaras. Escobar’s throw home was also off target, allowing Machado to take third, and he scored when Luis Mendoza uncorked a wild pitch.
“The key to that inning was if Escy just takes the out at first, they only get one run,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He tried to make a play, tried to keep it close to him by going to third. He just threw low and hit him in the back of the spike and that got a rally going. Now you got (runners at) first and third instead of just a runner at third. Then they start taking off and everything falls apart.”
Escobar said, “In that moment that I had to think about throwing the ball. I thought I had time to get the runner. It was a bad throw.”
The same could be said about his throw later in the inning, which put Machado in position to score on the wild pitch.
“I can’t believe that I made stupid errors like that,” Escobar lamented.
Moustakas hit a two-run shot in the sixth, his third hit of the game, but he also popped out with two on and two out in the eighth.
“There are always chances and always places where you can find a way to win,” Moustakas said. “We just didn’t get it done today.”
Mendoza (0-2) gave up five runs, three earned, and five hits in six innings.
J.J. Hardy homered and Manny Machado scored a run and hit an RBI single for the Orioles, whose season-high fourth consecutive win moved them eight games over .500 (21-13) for the first time this year.
Baltimore’s Chris Tillman (3-1) allowed three runs and five hits in six innings to win his third straight start. The right-hander came in 0-2 with a 10.93 ERA in three career starts against the Royals.
Troy Patton pitched the seventh, Darren O’Day and Brian Matusz worked the eighth and Jim Johnson got three outs for his 13th save.
Johnson has converted 34 straight save opportunities, tying the club record set by Randy Myers in 1997.
“It’s good, obviously, but that’s a secondary goal of mine,” Johnson said. “Obviously winning the game is always the first objective.”
Baltimore took a 2-0 lead in the second when Matt Wieters led off with a single and Hardy followed with a drive just inside the left-field foul pole. It was his sixth home run of the season, the third in four games.
Mendoza didn’t allow another base runner until Hardy drew a two-out walk in the fourth.
Tillman blanked the Royals on two hits through four innings, then retired the first two batters in the fifth before Gordon homered to right, his second long ball in two games. That ended Tillman’s run of consecutive scoreless innings at 15, a streak that began on April 27 in Oakland.
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