BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles have some ground to make up in the final two months in order to grab a wild-card playoff spot, and the Kansas City Royals are one of the teams they need to catch and pass.
Baltimore made some progress on Monday night when it claimed a walk-off 2-1 victory over Kansas City. The Orioles will try to beat the Royals again Tuesday in the second game of a three-game series.
Ian Kennedy (4-6, 4.43 ERA) will start for the Royals against Dylan Bundy (9-8, 4.53).
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Kennedy won his most recent start, a 16-2 rout of Detroit last Wednesday, allowing one run in six innings. He is 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA in three career starts against Baltimore.
The Orioles are one of three teams that Kennedy has never beaten.
Bundy has struggled in recent starts after a strong beginning to the season. He allowed at least five runs in five of his past seven starts, and Baltimore manager Buck Showalter — who tied Earl Weaver for 24th all time with 1,480 wins thanks to the Monday victory — is trying to give Bundy more rest between outings.
Bundy is 0-0 with a 3.68 ERA in two games (one start) against the Royals in his young career.
The Orioles made two more moves on Monday after acquiring starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson from the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.
Baltimore obtained infielder Tim Beckham (.259, 12 homers, 36 RBIs) from the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league pitcher Tobias Myers. In addition, the Orioles acquired minor league pitcher Yefry Ramirez from the New York Yankees in exchange for international signing bonus slots.
The Orioles optioned Ramirez to Double-A Bowie.
Beckham, who is under the team’s control through 2020, likely will see playing time at shortstop right away as starter J.J. Hardy (right wrist fracture) was shifted to the 60-day disabled list Monday.
“He’s got a good bat, excellent power numbers for a middle infielder,” Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of Beckham. “He’s proven to be solid defensively at second and short. And I think he’s just starting to come into his own as a ballplayer. He was the first player taken in the draft several years ago, which tells you the type of talent he has.”
Hellickson joined the Orioles on Monday and will start Wednesday against the Royals. Showalter said struggling starter Chris Tillman would be pushed back. Hellickson had a 6-5 record with a 4.73 ERA in 20 starts with the Phillies.
In addition, Kevin Gausman, who has won five straight, will be given an extra day of rest. Showalter said he wanted to give the right-hander a break because Gausman went 8 2/3 innings on Saturday in a 4-0 win over at Texas.
The Orioles hope that Hellickson can give their struggling rotation a boost.
“There’s still two months of baseball to play,” Hellickson said. “I’ve been part of teams that came back from nine back. It’ll be a fun two months. I just hope I can help the team win.”
The biggest news for the Orioles might have been that they did not trade closer Zach Britton, who picked up the win on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Royals reacquired Melky Cabrera in a deal with the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. Cabrera had his best major league season during his one year with Kansas City in 2011.
Cabrera went 0-for-4 in the series opener.
Royals manager Ned Yost said Cabrera will give his lineup and clubhouse a lift.
“He can hit anywhere in the middle of the order and be productive,” Yost said. “He brings great personality into a locker room filled with great personalities. He’s just going to mesh perfectly with our group.”