A night of firsts? So far.
Weeks, recalled today to replace left-hander T.J. McFarland on the 25-man roster, lined a single into center field to win a nine-pitch battle with former Oriole Jeremy Guthrie. He took second on Nelson Cruz’s walk and raced home on Nick Markakis’ single into right-center field.
Weeks and Markakis are 3-for-6 lifetime against Guthrie.
Cruz scored on Adam Jones’ fielder’s choice grounder to extend the lead to 2-0.
Weeks adds an element of speed atop the order, and he’s one of the few real stolen base threats on the roster. The challenge, of course, is getting on base.
Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen needed only seven pitches to retire the Royals in order in the top of the first inning, getting two ground balls to shortstop J.J. Hardy and a fly ball to Cruz. Guthrie threw 26 pitches in the bottom half and is at 43 through the second.
Chen struck out Billy Butler leading off the top of the second. It’s noteworthy because Butler is 7-for-13 against him lifetime, including two home runs.
Manager Buck Showalter has been impressed with the Royals.
“I think Kansas City is one of the better teams in the American League. They are really good,” he said.
“I think top to bottom they may have the top pure arm strength pitching staff in baseball. Soft tossers are at 94-95. That’s some big arms.”\
Update: Chen has allowed one run and five hits in five innings, with one walk and five strikeouts. He’s thrown 63 pitches, 41 for strikes.
Markakis looks fine at first.
Weeks tripled with two outs in the fifth, but was stranded.
Weeks said he found out about his promotion to the Orioles during the bus ride home following last night’s rainout.
Weeks joined the Orioles in New York, but wasn’t recalled and ended up back at LaGuardia later that night.
“This one’s for real, this one’s for real, so we’ll try to make the most of this real opportunity here,” he said.
It seemed as though Weeks appreciated being put in the lineup right away.
“You come up here and a lot of guys might wonder when they’re going to play, this and that, but I kind of know how Buck operates and whatever he thinks is the best lineup to win, he’s going to put it up there,” Weeks said. “So, I was prepared if I had to play, leadoff, whatever.”
Weeks was removed from a game earlier this week after becoming dehydrated and wasn’t in the lineup the following day.
“I’m feeling better,” he said. “That was one of the things I wanted to make sure we had under control, and right now I’m feeling good and I’m going out there and really putting the work in right now before the game to be ready for the game.”
Update II: The Royals collected three singles in the sixth, including Danny Valencia’s infield hit and Justin Maxwell’s RBI blooper into center, and tied the game 2-2.
Chen has thrown 83 pitches in six innings. He’s one-third of an inning short of tying his season high on April 14 against the Rays.
Kevin Gausman threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings tonight at Norfolk, leaving the game after 75 pitches. He allowed three hits, walked one and struck out five.