KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Eric Hosmer’s hitting surge is helping the Kansas City Royals pile up some wins.
Hosmer delivered another key hit, doubling home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to lead the Royals to a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
Lorenzo Cain singled with one out and Hosmer doubled to right-center field off Vidal Nuno (0-1). The Royals won for the fourth time in five games.
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Hosmer is hitting .403 with a .581 slugging percentage, six extra-base hits and 10 RBIs in his past 16 games. He has raised his batting average 97 points from .192 to .289 in that span.
”I think anytime its close and especially late in the ballgame and those type of hits fall, it’s definitely a good sign,” Hosmer said. ”Especially the way our pitching has been. Our bullpen did a great job, coming in and giving us a chance. As an offense, that’s all you ask for.”
Hosmer was unsure whether Orioles center fielder Adam Jones might track down the ball.
”I was watching all the way and hoping it would fall,” Hosmer said. ”Off the bat I knew it had a chance, but at the same time I got a good look at him running down a lot of balls in the World Baseball Classic. With him out there, you never feel safe when that ball is in the air.”
Joakim Soria (2-1) worked a flawless eighth to pick up the victory and Kelvin Herrera earned his sixth save in seven chances.
Brandon Moss hit a towering 456-foot shot into the right-field water fountains off Dylan Bundy in the fifth, giving the Royals a 2-1 advantage.
”I threw it down, middle third, and he was able to get out on it,” Bundy said. ”He hammered that thing, too. I knew it gone as soon as he hit it.”
Caleb Joseph had two doubles, a triple, was hit by a pitch, scored a run and drove in a run for Baltimore.
Bundy came out after six innings and 112 pitches. Bundy, who was 4-0 in his previous five starts, gave up two runs on four hits, while walking one and striking out eight.
Mike Moustakas and Cain hit back-to-back doubles in the first.
J.J. Hardy tripled with one out in the second when the ball rolled past a diving Jorge Soler in right field. It was Hardy’s first triple since June 5, 2012, and the Orioles’ first triple this season. He scored on Joseph’s double.
Joseph doubled in the seventh and later scored on Duffy’s wild pitch, tying it at 2.
”Duffy’s been tough on us,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ”He’s a really good pitcher. He’s having a really good year. He’s quietly pitching about as well as anybody. We knew runs were going to be at a premium.”
Duffy left after seven innings, yielding two runs on eight hits. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out six.
”I wanted to pitch 13 innings today, that’s how good I felt,” Duffy said.
Royals LF Alex Gordon batted last for only the second time in his career. Gordon is in a 1-for-27 skid over nine games. ”There’s just not a lot of production,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. The only other time Gordon batted ninth was July 29, 2010. Gordon left in the seventh inning with right groin tightness.
The Royals began a 26-game stretch Friday against clubs that are currently above .500. Their opponents have a 119-78 record.
Orioles: C Welington Castillo (right shoulder tendinitis) will begin a rehab assignment Saturday with Double-A Bowie. He will be the designated hitter for both games of a doubleheader and then catch Sunday.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (right hamstring strain) threw a bullpen session Friday. He is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday.
Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman will make his second start of the season since coming off the disabled list with a shoulder issue.
Royals: RHP Nathan Karns matched his career high with 10 strikeouts in his previous start against the Rays.