So this was not just another night at the ballpark. Emotions ran high, two players were ejected, the benches and dugouts emptied, and the Orioles routed the Kansas City Royals 9-1.
Kansas City right-hander Yordano Ventura threw a pitch inside toward Manny Machado in the second inning that did not hit him but drew his ire. In the fifth, facing Machado the next time, Ventura’s pitch did not miss what was certainly its clear target.
Ventura drilled Machado in the back with a 99 mph fastball, touching off a benches-clearing brawl that led to ejections for both players. Machado charged the mound, Ventura dropped his glove and hat, and Machado seemed to land a right-handed punch as the players went to the ground and the dugouts emptied onto the field. It was the fourth career ejection for Machado and the third for Ventura.
If Ventura was upset tonight, perhaps it should have been at himself for pitching poorly again. He entered this outing with a 2-3 record and 6.28 ERA over his previous seven starts. He was trailing 5-1 when he drilled Machado.
The O’s quickly struck for four runs off Ventura in the first inning as Machado had an RBI double, Mark Trumbo a two-run double and Jonathan Schoop an RBI single. Ryan Flaherty hit a homer onto Eutaw Street in the second inning for a 5-0 lead. It was his second career Eutaw Street homer, the first coming Sept. 25, 2013.
After the brawl, Paul Janish pinch-ran for Machado and Chien-Ming Wang came on for Ventura. The Orioles responded with back-to-back homers. Trumbo drilled a two-run shot for No. 20 and Chris Davis followed with No. 12 to center field. This was the 10th time this year the O’s hit back-to-back home runs. Trumbo had a four-RBI night and has 48 RBIs on the year. Over his last seven games, Trumbo has hit five homers with 11 RBIs.
Adam Jones led off the sixth inning with a solo homer for a 9-1 lead on the O’s fourth homer of the night and third in a span of seven batters. The Orioles have hit 18 homers over their last six games and 50 in the past 28 games.
Meanwhile, O’s starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez had baserunners all over the place tonight, but somehow managed to give up just one run in five innings plus one batter. He allowed nine hits, but Kansas City went just 1-for-11 against him with runners in scoring position. Jimenez got the victory and is 3-6 with an ERA of 6.21.
With the win - their sixth in seven games - the Orioles improved to 34-23. At 11 games over .500, they tie a season high. K.C. falls to 30-28 and has lost six in a row.
The O’s can sweep this series and complete a 7-3 homestand with a win on Wednesday night. Chris Tillman (7-1, 3.33 ERA) pitches against right-hander Edinson Volquez (5-5, 4.03 ERA).