Jorge Lopez showed some of the potential the Royals saw when they traded for him in late July, scattering five hits over a career-best seven innings and helping Kansas City rout the Baltimore Orioles 9-1 on Sunday.
The Royals completed a three-game sweep of the only team in the majors with a worse record than theirs.
The only run Lopez (1-4) allowed came in the first, when Jonathan Villar sent a mistake over the left-field wall. Lopez bounced back to strike out a career-high eight without a walk to earn his second win and first since Sept. 29, 2015, when he was still with the Brewers.
Lopez was part of the deal for third baseman Mike Moustakas at the non-waiver trade deadline.
Meibrys Viloria had his first career hit a day after arriving from Class-A Wilmington, a two-run double in the eighth. Alcides Escobar also had three hits and an RBI as Kansas City piled up 14 hits, its sixth straight game with at least 10 and the longest such streak since June 24-29, 2016.
Most of the damage came against David Hess (3-9), who allowed five runs on nine hits and a trio of Baltimore errors -- all of which came after his own mistakes during a dreadful third inning.
The first error came with nobody out, when Hess threw the ball away trying to pick Merrifield off first base. Then, with two down, Hess tried to chase Jorge Bonifacio back to second and the ball squirreled away again. Bonifacio headed for third and second baseman Breyvic Valera tried to throw him out there, but the ball bounced away for yet another error that allowed Bonifacio to score.
The Royals added a run in the fourth and three in the eighth as they wrapped up their second straight sweep. They've won three consecutive series and seven of their last eight games.
Royals vice president Mike Swanson threw out the ceremonial first pitch to honor his 40 years in baseball. Swanson's mother, Betty, spent nearly four decades working for the Royals and Chiefs, while her son has worked for the Rockies, Padres and Diamondbacks along with his time in Kansas City.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he will try several options in the closer role after Mychael Givens blew another save Saturday night. "You've got to get people out, and pitch when you're asked and take advantage of the opportunity," Showalter said, "including Mike and some other guys."
Orioles: RHP Pedro Araujo (right elbow strain) will not pitch again this season. He's been on the DL since June 11. "He's going to be fine, I think, for next year," Showalter said, "but I don't think he'll pitch in September. I don't see any of the feedback that fits that scenario."
Royals: OF Jorge Soler (fractured left toe) experienced a setback in his rehab and will likely shut down for the remainder of the season, manager Ned Yost said. Soler went on the DL on June 16, when he was hitting .265 with nine homers and 28 RBIs.
The Orioles head to Seattle for three games beginning Monday night, when LHP Josh Rogers (1-0, 5.40 ERA) is on the mound. The Royals begin a trip to Cleveland and Minnesota with RHP Jakob Junis (7-12, 4.53 ERA) taking the hill against the Indians on Monday night.