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Orioles break six-game losing streak with five homers

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Orioles break six-game losing streak with five homers

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.

MORE ORIOLES: RELIEVER HAS IMPRESSED SHOWALTER

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

Buck Showalter has been fired as manager of the Orioles, who made three playoff appearances under his guidance but this year staggered through the worst season since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954.

Showalter confirmed the dismissal Wednesday in a text message to The Associated Press.

A three-time AL Manager of the Year, Showalter ranks second on the Orioles' career list with 669 victories, trailing Earl Weaver. He took over in August 2010 and orchestrated the resurgence of a team that suffered through 14 straight losing seasons.

Once hailed for making baseball in Baltimore relevant again, the 62-year-old Showalter is out of a job after a season in which the Orioles finished 47-115, 61 games behind Boston in the AL East. His contract expired at the end of October, and the Orioles opted against a renewal as they continue a major rebuild that began in late July, when they traded stars Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman for minor league prospects.

Those deals were made by Dan Duquette, the executive vice president of baseball operations, whose future with the organization is up in the air.

Showalter earned AL Manager of the Year honors in 2014 after taking the Orioles to the AL East title and a berth in the Championship Series. He was also named Manager of Year with the Yankees in 1994 and Texas in 2004. His career record is 1,551-1,517, including 669-684 with Baltimore.

"I just think ever since he came here, the franchise just gained a little more accountability, gained an edge for some time," Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said before the final game of the season. "It's the end of an era. A great manager, a great tenure. I don't know if he's going to coach or manage again, but he's got grandchildren. Go golf. Relax and go sit on the golf course."

With his future in doubt, Showalter appeared undaunted during the final series of the regular season.

"You know how good they've been to me? I'm not ever going to forget that, regardless of what happens," he said.

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was asked before his team's playoff game against the Yankees on Wednesday night whether Showalter was victimized by the trend toward analytics.

"I don't think Buck was a guy that ignored analytics," Melvin said. "I think it was probably a combination of how they did this year and maybe some relationships."

After the Orioles brought Showalter out of retirement, he offered renewed hope by fashioning a 34-23 finish in 2010 for a team that was 32-73 upon his arrival.

Baltimore ended a 14-year playoff drought in 2012, advancing to the AL Division Series following a victory over Texas in the wild-card game. Playoff appearances in 2014 and 2016 followed.

Last year, however, the Orioles fell to 75-87 after losing 19 of their final 23 games. Baltimore hoped the addition of starters Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner would enable the team to be a contender this year, but a horrid start quickly dispelled that notion.

The Orioles' deficit in the AL East reached double digits by April 18 and they were 8-27 on May 8. By the end of July, Baltimore fully entered rebuilding mode, leaving Showalter with the dubious distinction of overseeing a team that finished with the poorest record in the majors and one that surpassed the 1939 St. Louis Browns for most losses in franchise history.

Showalter never offered an excuse. He just grinded forward, working to prepare the team for 2019 even though he knew he might not be around to follow through.

At the outset of a season-ending series against Houston, Showalter was asked if he was thinking these might be his final days in the Baltimore dugout.

"We all have some private thoughts and emotions about that, but I don't think it serves the organization well for me to be worried about that right now," he said. "We've got some things to do these last four games that need to get done."

Showalter has a reputation as a no-nonsense manager, but his players appreciated his baseball knowledge and skill at handling a team. He made a point of talking to each of them on a regular basis, almost always offering encouragement.

"He gave me a chance," said catcher Caleb Joseph, who played six-plus years in the minors before arriving in Baltimore. "He believed in me in 2014, ran me out there and gave me a chance to be part of a championship team. He's really vouched for me ever since. I owe a lot to Buck and his loyalty. He's been a main figure here for a long time."

Sensing the end was near for the only big league manager he had ever played for, first baseman Trey Mancini said: "It's been an absolute honor to play for Buck. He's been incredible."

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

The Boston Red Sox broke a 106-year-old franchise record with their 106th victory on Monday night, clinching home-field advantage through the postseason by beating the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 thanks to a pair of hits from major league batting leader Mookie Betts.

Nathan Eovaldi struck out 10 hapless Orioles batters to assure the Red Sox of the best record in baseball this season and home-field advantage through the World Series, if they make it that far. For now, they know they will open the Division Series at Fenway Park on Oct. 5 against the winner of the AL wild-card game between the New York Yankees and mostly likely Oakland.

The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games in their first season at Fenway Park.

The Orioles (45-111) became the sixth AL team and the first since the 2003 Tigers to lose 111 games, falling 60 games behind Boston (106-51) in the division. It's the first time since 1939 that teams separated by 60 wins in the standings have played each other.

Boston scored four in the second inning, getting back-to-back doubles from Steve Pearce and Brock Holt, an RBI single from Christian Vazquez and Betts' two-run homer over the Green Monster. It was the 32nd homer of the season for Betts, a new career high.

Betts also singled and scored in Boston's two-run fourth, moving him into the major-league lead with 125 runs scored. In his last three games, he is 10 for 16 with three homers and four doubles, and he leads teammate J.D. Martinez (.328) in the AL batting race.

Renato Nunez had three hits for the Orioles, who fell to 2-15 against Boston and 18-61 on the road this season.

FOR STARTERS

Six days after throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees, Eovaldi (6-7) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking none but uncorking a pair of wild pitches.

Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-16) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings, striking out five.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Yefrey Ramirez is scheduled to start on Wednesday, but manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to give him an extra day or two. "I think Yefrey will pitch again, I just don't know when," Showalter said.

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup after feeling soreness in his left shoulder during a swing and leaving Sunday night's game. ... INF Eduardo Nunez ran on Sunday to test his hamstring and was scheduled to run again on Monday with the goal of having him back in the lineup by Wednesday or Friday.

UP NEXT

LHP David Price (15-7) tries to bounce back from a rough start in Yankee Stadium in the second game of the series in what could be his last start of the regular season.