Orioles aim to stop skid in home series vs. Royals




The Kansas City Royals head to Baltimore to start a three-game series where two teams that struggled over the weekend hope to make things better.

The Orioles, in the first year of their rebuilding process, have had problems all season. Those continued this weekend in Boston where the Red Sox swept all three games with Baltimore -- the most frustrating of which might have been the last one on Sunday.

That's when the Orioles took an early 6-0 lead before giving up 13 consecutive runs. The Red Sox came away with a 13-7 victory and ran Baltimore's losing streak to seven games.

Baltimore now has lost 12 of its last 13 games and went 0-7 on a road trip where it also took on the Yankees.

The biggest problem for the Orioles on Sunday, as it has been all season, was pitching. After starter Ty Blach was effective enough through 5 1/3 innings (five runs and leaving with the lead), the bullpen gave up eight runs in the next 2 2/3 innings.

Everything fell apart in a six-run Red Sox sixth inning where the defending World Series champions took a 9-6 lead. Boston scored two runs on one play when Mitch Moreland hit a pop fly that fell to the ground in short left in between three Orioles. That brought in one run, but shortstop Jonathan Villar's wide throw to the plate gave the Red Sox one more and tied the game.

"We gave them six outs in the sixth," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde told MASN. "We just played poor baseball that inning. We are what we are with our pitching, and we're doing the best we can."

John Means (8-8, 3.76) will start for the Orioles, and the left-hander also has had troubles since making the All-Star team. He's dropped his last three starts and hasn't made it out of the fourth inning in any of them.

This will be his first career appearance against the Royals.

Kansas City is coming in off two tough losses to the New York Mets at home, the last being an 11-5 decision on Sunday.

The Mets turned the game around with a six-run seventh inning that gave them a 9-4 lead. A big seventh inning is what hurt the Royals for a second straight day.

On Saturday, New York snapped a 1-1 tie and took the lead for good with a two-run seventh en route to a 4-1 victory.

The bullpen struggled in Sunday's loss. Kevin McCarthy gave up four runs on four hits in one-third of an inning as the Mets took the lead for good. That wasted starter Glenn Sparkman's good six-inning effort where he gave up three runs and left with a 4-3 lead.

"They just struggled to get outs," Royals manager Ned Yost told MLB.com. "(McCarthy) came in and a couple of well-placed hits. We just couldn't get anybody out."

Jorge Lopez (1-7, 6.51) starts for Kansas City in the series opener Monday. This will be his third start since late May. In his last appearance, Lopez gave up five runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings in a 10-8 loss to the Tigers but came away with a no-decision.

He has a 1-0 record with a 1.29 ERA in one career appearance versus Baltimore.

Also, while in Baltimore, pitcher Danny Duffy is scheduled to throw a four-inning simulated game Tuesday to test his ailing hamstring. If he comes through it fine, the team could activate him later in the week.

--Field Level Media

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