O's game blog: Wrapping up the series in Kansas City

Grayson Rodriguez Black jersey pitching

KANSAS CITY – The Orioles had won three in a row, five of six, 12 of 14 and 16 of their past 20 games until they were shutout for the first time this year, 6-0 last night at Kansas City. 

So Baltimore (20-10) play the series finale at Kauffman Stadium this afternoon and it is their fifth rubber game of the year. They lost their first two – at Boston and home vs. the New York Yankees. But have won the last two at the Chicago White Sox and home against Boston.

The Orioles are 11-6 on the road and 4-2 on this 10-game trip. They are 7-2 in their past nine road games and are 4-1 in road series.

Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez (1-0, 4.07 ERA) gets the ball this afternoon and he takes a 14-innings scoreless streak into this start. The streak started in the second inning April 16 at Chicago versus the White Sox. It continued in five-inning outings twice against Detroit, once at home and once on the road. His last outing was Game 2 of the doubleheader Saturday at Detroit, when he pitched five scoreless with nine strikeouts and 91 pitches.

In those past two outings, he has allowed seven hits in 10 innings with four walks and 15 strikeouts, allowing a .194 batting average and .525 OPS. He is 1-0 with a 2.40 ERA in three starts vs. teams from the AL Central.

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Looking to improve strong record against losing clubs, plus other O's notes

Mullins Hays white

KANSAS CITY – If a formula for producing one of the best records in baseball so far has been to hold your own against the best teams and clean up on losing records clubs, the Orioles are doing a pretty solid job in following the script.

They may have gone off script for a night, being shutout 6-0 by Kansas City last night, as the Royals (8-23) ended a 10-game home losing streak that fell a game short of the franchise record.

But the Orioles have played four series to date against teams with current winning records and they are 6-6 in the 12 games against Boston, the New York Yankees and Texas, going 2-2 in series.

But they are 14-4 through Tuesday’s games against clubs with current losing records, going 5-0 in series. That is a .778 win percentage and that will help a team get into the playoffs. So will a 20-10 record and a .667 overall win percentage that, if maintained through the full year, amounts to 108 wins.

But as noted previously here, the May schedule is about to get more challenging for the team, with series looming against Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Toronto and New York.

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O's bats reheat in 6-4 win over Royals (updated)

McKenna Mullins Hays five orange away

KANSAS CITY - Anthony Santander appeared almost reluctant to don the Orioles’ home run chain Friday night.

After sneaking a meaningless solo home run inside Kauffman Stadium’s right field foul pole in the ninth inning of an 8-1 loss, Santander accepted the plastic chain with all the gravitas of a weathered monarch.

Tyler Nevin showed no such hesitancy Saturday. In fact, he welcomed it, beckoning Austin Hays to bestow the chain upon him after crushing a three-run, go-ahead homer to dead center field in the sixth inning of a 6-4 win over the Royals.

The honor was richly deserved.

Nevin’s 425-foot longball gave the Orioles their first lead since the third inning of Thursday’s series opener. Before the homer, the O’s had been outscored 18-7 in the first two-and-a-half games of their four-game series in Kansas City. 

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