A night after 11-run outburst, O's offense shut down in loss at K.C. (updated)

KANSAS CITY – The Orioles had not been shut out yet this year and ranked fifth in the majors in runs per game at 5.45 coming into this outing. But their offense, which produced 11 runs last night, did not come through for the Orioles tonight.

O’s right-hander Kyle Gibson had been 4-0 this year and the Orioles were 5-1 in his 2023 starts. But he would need run support to win this one and didn’t get it.

Kansas City snapped a 10-game home losing streak, scoring single runs in the fourth and sixth and adding four in the seventh to beat the Orioles 6-0 in front of 10,362 at Kauffman Stadium. 

The time of game was one hour and 59 minutes. 

The Orioles will win a seventh consecutive series if they win the rubber match here on Thursday afternoon.

But they were shut out for the first time of the season in this one. And with this loss they fall to 20-10 and see a three-game win streak snapped. It was just their third loss in the last 15 games and fifth in the past 21. Kansas City, now 8-23, won for just the fourth time in the last 18 games.

Gibson's pitch count was at only 57 through the sixth inning, but the Royals knocked him out during a big seventh. Gibson gave up six runs and 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings on 74 pitches to fall to 4-1 with a 4.61 ERA.

“I thought he was really good into that seventh inning," O's skipper Brandon Hyde said. "We're down a couple, he gets an out and then kind of a squibber through the infield, sac fly, we’re down 3-0. Bottom of the order. Try to keep our bullpen in good shape for tomorrow also. Bottom line is we didn’t score, so, tough time offensively tonight and shutout."

Two starts ago, Gibson tied his career high with 11 strikeouts. Tonight he did not fan or walk a batter and got just one swing and miss all night on 40 swings by Royals hitters. 

“Yeah, I mean, it was a really weird night overall," he said. "They put some really good swings on some tough pitches and I left a couple in the middle, but man, I have to go back and watch it again. Just felt like we had a good plan and were making pitches and they did a good job putting the bat on the ball.

“I felt really good. Normally, anytime you get early contact like that and get into the sixth inning with 50-something pitches, whatever it is, that’s ideal. Never met anyone that would chase strikeouts if they are going to give you outs in two pitches, three pitches. Shoot, I don’t even know now how many times I even got to two strikes tonight."

Meanwhile, right-hander Zack Greinke, who entered with an 0-4 record and 6.10 ERA, was shutting down the Orioles in the early innings. He needed just nine pitches for one inning, 18 through two, 26 through three and 37 to get the first 12 outs. He was rolling and had some good defense behind him, especially from first baseman Nick Pratto.

The Orioles offense, which recorded 15 hits last night, and went 8-for-18 with runners in scoring position, had just three singles through five innings tonight. And just six hits - including five singles and a double - for the game.

“He was just being aggressive with his pitches," said outfielder Cedric Mullins, who was 0-for-4. "The first baseman was making plays. With pitch clocks, sometimes hard to break momentum unless you get some guys on base. Just struggled with that today.

“As long as the season is, you are bound to have days like this. Got to bounce back tomorrow."

Kyle Stowers, starting in left field, blooped a hit into right-center in the second inning but did not advance past first base. Anthony Santander singled with two outs in the fourth, but Pratto made a diving stop to rob Stowers on a grounder hit toward first at 105 mph. Adam Frazier had a one-out single in the fifth but was erased when Ramón Urías grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.

The 39-year-old Greinke, who had allowed 15 runs and 19 hits in 14 2/3 innings his past three starts, was throwing a five-inning shutout on just 44 pitches. And then he was pulled from the game. There were no announcements as to whether it was injury-related or just a manager's decision. 

He lowered his ERA to 5.25 with his five scoreless innings, and O’s batters went just 3-for-17 against him. Coming into this start, lefty batters were hitting .321 against him and right-handers were batting .292. Last Thursday versus the Twins he gave up seven runs and eight hits over 3 2/3 innings.   

Vinnie Pasquantino had a big night for the winners and gave them the lead with a solo homer in the fourth, his sixth of the year. His RBI double in the sixth made it a 2-0 game and he drove in a third run during the Royals' big seventh inning with another double. That inning also featured a Bobby Witt Jr. RBI triple. K.C. had 13 hits in the win. 

Right-hander Taylor Clarke came on to pitch in the Baltimore sixth, Aroldis Chapman worked the seventh, Amir Garrett the eighth and Josh Staumont closed out the five-pitcher shutout. 

The Orioles were blanked for the first time since an 8-0 loss on the road to the New York Yankees on Oct. 1, 2022. 

The Orioles fall to 4-2 on this road trip and will need a win on Thursday to keep their series winning streak going.  

Final notes: The time of game made this the fourth-fastest nine-inning game in the major leagues this year. It was only longer than the Angels at Red Sox on April 16 (1:57), the Twins at Marlins on April 4 (1:57) and the Guardians at Tigers in Game 2 of an April 18 doubleheader (1:50).

This also marked the Orioles' shortest nine-inning game in 13 years, since Sept. 15, 2010 vs. Toronto, a 3-1 win that ended in 1 hour, 55 minutes.

Kansas City posted its first shutout against Baltimore since Sept. 9, 2021. The O's were blanked for the first time at Kauffman Stadium since a 1-0 defeat on May 17, 2014.

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