KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kauffman Stadium had become a house of horrors for the Orioles. There were the two painful losses to end last year’s American League Championship Series and two more on Monday and Tuesday nights.
The Orioles were facing their longest losing streak since July 2011, but five home runs gave them an 8-5 win over the Kansas City Royals before 33,003 on Wednesday night.
The win broke a six-game losing streak and put the Orioles (63-63) back at .500.
“I couldn't have told you the number. There’s so much negativism around you when things are going poorly and there’s so much overpositiveness when things are going well,” manager Buck Showalter said.
“You try to stay in reality but because of the reality of how many games we have left and where we are trying to get it does put a different spin on it at this time of the year.
Chris Davis, who was 0-for-16 with nine strikeouts hit a double and home run. Manny Machado, Steve Pearce, Jonathan Schoop and Ryan Flaherty all homered. The eight runs were accounted for by homers.
“There were a lot of people trotting around the bases tonight,” Pearce said.
The Orioles had an excellent scoring chance in the second when Davis led off with a double and Matt Wieters singled.
But, the Orioles couldn’t even put the ball in play as Pearce struck out, Jimmy Paredes fouled to the catcher and Jonathan Schoop struck.
Kansas City scored twice in the bottom in the second off Wei-Yin Chen, Kendrys Morales led off with a double. He took third on Mike Moustakas’ bunt and scored on Salvador Perez’s double. Paulo Orlando hit a ground ball to Davis at first. Instead of running the ball to the bag, Davis tossed it to Chen, but Orlando was safe.
Omar Infante’s infield single scored Perez, and it was 2-0.
Alcides Escobar flied to Adam Jones in center, but Infante was out because he passed Orlando at second base for a double play.
Flaherty singled against Johnny Cueto (2-3) to start the third, and Machado hit a two-run home run, his 26th, to tie the score at 2.
With one out in the fourth, Pearce singled, and Schoop hit his 10th home run down the left field line with two outs, and the Orioles led 4-2.
“Every time you win, there is happiness. You win, everybody is happy. No matter if you go 0-for-6, you are happy,” Schoop said.
Gerardo Parra singled and stole second leading off the fifth. Davis hit his 35th home run into the Kansas City bullpen in left field for a 6-2 lead.
Showalter said Davis didn’t take batting practice before the game because he had so many blisters from all the extra work.
“Because you don't hear about it, and you don't see it all the time, it
doesn't mean they're not trying to make it happen yesterday,” Showalter said.
The three home runs were the most allowed by Cueto, who allowed six runs on eight hits in five innings, since Aug. 21, 2010.
Kansas City scored its third run off Chen (8-6) in the sixth on singles by Ben Zobrist, Lorenzo Cain and Morales. In 6 2/3, Chen allowed three runs on 10 hits.
Chen has won four straight decisions and hasn’t lost since July 21.
Pearce hit his eighth home run off Jeremy Guthrie in the eighth to give the Orioles a 7-3 lead.
Brad Brach got the last out of the seventh and the first two of the eighth before walking Morales. Brian Matusz’s second pitch to Moustakas was hit to right field for a two-run home run. The Royals (77-49) cut the Orioles lead to 7-5.
Ryan Flaherty’s fifth homer of the season in the ninth put the Orioles up by three.
Zach Britton pitched the ninth for his 30th save.
As losses mounted, the mood in the Orioles clubhouse darkened.
“Before today's game it hasn't been all that great, but I believe from now on it will be great,” Chen said through his translator.
NOTES: Pearce’s home run broke a streak of 24 1/3 scoreless innings against relievers. According to STATS LLC, dating back to 1974, the team record is 30 1/3 innings from May 10-23, 2000. … Davis is the third Oriole to hit 35 home runs in multiple seasons. Rafael Palmeiro did it four times, Boog Powell three. … Chris Tillman (9-7, 4.54) faces Yordano Ventura (7-7, 4.82) on Thursday at 2:10 p.m. … The Orioles are at .500 for the 16th time this season, third highest in franchise history. … Schoop’s home run was measured in the ballpark as 427 feet, but Statscast had it as 484 feet. … The five home runs were the most since the club record eight hit on June 16.