BALTIMORE—Mike Wright’s last start was awful. He allowed six runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings. It was so bad he was sent to Norfolk the next day.
Fortunately for Wright, Darren O’Day’s strained hamstring allowed him to be called back to the Orioles a day later, and having few other options, manager Buck Showalter started him against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.
There was a much different Wright on display.
He pitched seven innings, allowing one bizarre unearned run as the Orioles beat the Kansas City Royals 4-1 before 14,878 at Oriole Park.
“He got a do-over. Not many people do. I think he would have eventually gotten one anyway, but it came a little faster. It’s kind of like we got the benefits,” Showalter said.
“It’s kind of like he took all the things we’ve been talking that he’s capable of doing better and he did them tonight.”
Wright (3-3) was the first Orioles starter to complete seven innings since Chris Tillman did it on May 24.
“He came out here with a vengeance. Nobody wants to get sent down. He had something to prove, that he wanted to be up here and wanted to stay here. The next start he has to come out and do the same thing. We know what he's capable of. He just needs to bring it out every day, every pitch, every outing. He knows what he needs to do. He's just got to go out there and do it,” Manny Machado said.
Wright agreed with Machado.
“When you get sent down and recalled the next day, I mean you’ve got to come out and perform. So I definitely had a little more focus and like he said, a vengeance,” Wright said.
Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters hit home runs off Danny Duffy in the seventh to give the Orioles (33-23). They have won five of their last six, and have come from behind in all five.
Trumbo led off the seventh with his 19th homer into the Orioles bullpen, enabling him to take the major league lead in home runs.
Two batters later, Wieters smashed his fifth to center field.
Luke Hochevar replaced Duffy (1-1), and allowed a single to Nolan Reimold. Jonathan Schoop walked, and after Ryan Flaherty struck out, Adam Jones doubled, scoring Reimold.
Third base coach Bobby Dickerson tried to stop Schoop, but after hesitating for a moment, he ran and was easily tagged out at the plate.
“I dropped my head. I should have kept my head up. I dropped my head, and didn’t see it. I saw it late, and then I couldn’t stop anymore. I’ve got to clean it up and get better at it,” Schoop said.
Machado added his 15th home run in the eighth.
Brad Brach struck out the side in the eighth, and Zach Britton pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save.
In the first inning, Wright allowed a double to Whit Merrifield and walked Lorenzo Cain with one out, but pitched out of it.
“I had some stuff to work on. I didn’t get to do down to Norfolk to work on it, but you can do a lot of stuff mentally – reps after reps in your head. It’s the same things,” Wright said.
That was the only inning Wright had to deal with multiple baserunners until the seventh.
Wright struck out Salvador Perez, but allowed back-to-back singles to Paulo Orlando and Cheslor Cuthbert.
Jarrod Dyson grounded to short. Machado’s threw to Schoop to force Cuthbert. Trying to complete the double play, Schoop’s attempted throw hit off Cuthbert’s right elbow, and the ball bounced away enabling Orlando to score.
“When he hit it, I thought I had the chance to throw it, but after that when Manny caught the ball, I said, ‘let me try to pump fake,’ and then throw the ball to third base, but I couldn’t stop the ball. It hurt. I apologized,” Schoop said.
Kansas City (30-27) has lost five straight.
The Orioles had a chance to score off Duffy in the third. Schoop singled, and Paul Janish bunted for a base hit. Jones tried to do the same, but he was out.
Schoop and Janish moved up a base, but Joey Rickard struck out, and so did Machado. Machado was so annoyed he slammed his helmet down.
NOTES: Cuthbert left the game with a bruised right elbow. …Jones’ sacrifice was just the Orioles’ second of the season. …Wieters’ home run was his 100th as a catcher. He has five as a designated hitter and first baseman. … Yordano Ventura (4-3, 4.82) faces Ubaldo Jimenez (2-6, 6.59) on Tuesday night. … Showalter passed former Orioles and Nationals manager Davey Johnson for 29th place on the wins list with 1,373.