Royals try to cool suddenly warm Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles come into Kansas City on Friday for the start of their three-game weekend series in an unusual position — riding a three-game winning streak.

Andrew Cashner (4-12, 4.79 ERA) will help the Orioles try for their second four-game winning streak of the season. He goes against Brad Keller (6-5, 3.33).

Baltimore (40-94) is coming off a three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto had scored victories in 12 of the first 13 games between the teams this season before the Orioles rolled over the Jays, scoring 29 runs in three victories.

Right fielder Adam Jones handled his shift from his long-time position in center without a word of complaint, trying to help rookie Cedric Mullins adjust to life in the big leagues. Jones was one of the big bats in this series.

He finished with four hits in Tuesday’s win and banged out a grand slam in a 12-5 rout of Toronto on Wednesday night.

“It’s just fun to see him have fun,” Baltimore starter Alex Cobb said to MASNsports.com about Jones doing well late in a season that doesn’t mean much. “He’s meant so much to this organization. For him to go out there and have big moments like that in a season that’s kind of lost for us, it’s fun to see and fun to be a part of.”

Cashner will try and continue the fun in Kansas City on Friday night. He’s 0-2 with a 2.45 ERA versus the Royals in his career but has pitched better lately as Baltimore has played better.

Keller will be making his first career appearance versus the Orioles.

The Orioles are playing a team they’re “battling” for the title of worst record in the majors, something neither franchise is happy about. Four years ago, these two teams met in the American League Championship Series.

Kansas City (42-91) is a bit behind Baltimore, but the Royals also have found more recent success, especially in the past week. The sweep of the Jays was the Orioles’ first sweep of a three-game series since late last season.

But the Royals have won two series in a row, taking two of three from Cleveland before winning both games against the Detroit Tigers.

In Wednesday’s win over Detroit, longtime Royals player Alex Gordon hit his 170th homer as a member of the franchise and moved to fourth place all time. He said he didn’t even realize where he ranked on the home run list.

“I just wanted to make it to the big leagues and not mess up,” Gordon told the media after that game. “Any time you have been with an organization as long as I have, you’re going to pass some people. I’m just an old guy moving up the list.”

The Royals made a move Wednesday, trading Lucas Duda to the Atlanta Braves for cash, which makes him eligible for postseason play. Duda was on a one-year deal with Kansas City.

Baltimore also has lost outfielder/designated hitter Mark Trumbo to a knee surgery. He will miss the rest of the season. Mullins is battling a sore hip.