Power-happy Royals try to keep Orioles down

BALTIMORE — The Kansas City Royals showed something different in the first contest of the three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday night — power.

Now, the question is whether the Royals can show some of that punch again in the second game of the series Wednesday night at Camden Yards.

Kansas City entered the series ranked 28th in the major leagues with 29 homers in its first 34 games. However, the Royals hit four in the first inning Tuesday and five overall in a 15-7 victory over Baltimore on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Royals (12-23) will face Orioles right-hander Andrew Cashner (1-4, 4.89 ERA), who already has allowed nine homers in 38 2/3 innings this season. Cashner has an 0-2 career record versus Kansas City with a 1.69 ERA in three starts.

One thing about Camden Yards is when the weather warms up, the ball flies out, and that’s what happened Tuesday as the two teams combined for eight home runs.

Mike Moustakas hit two homers and drove in five runs in the win, and Kansas City finished with 20 hits. The Royals used those four first-inning homers to score 10 runs and take a big early lead.

“It was awesome, a lot of fun,” Moustakas told reporters. “Once we got back around the order to the top of the order … I don’t think I’ve ever been around something like that before.”

Eric Skoglund will start for the Royals in the second game of the series. The left-hander is 1-2 with a 6.84 ERA and likely would be happy to see the kind of power the Royals showed. Skoglund received plenty of support in his last start, a 10-6 victory when he yielded five runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.

“Just wasn’t able to stay ahead and they had some quality at-bats,” Skoglund told reporters. “I can’t be any prouder of these guys. They absolutely competed and put up runs for me.”

This is going to be his first career appearance versus the Orioles.

The Orioles (8-27) have lost seven consecutive games. They dropped all six on last week’s West Coast swing through Anaheim and Oakland, and Monday’s off-day before the start of this series did them no good.

Baltimore has not been able to put everything together this year. The Orioles have gotten some pitching, hitting and defense at times but can’t make everything effective at the right time.

Manager Buck Showalter said they plan to keep working to look for improvement in these frustrating early days to the 2018 season.

“We’re grinding it every day, everybody,” Showalter said. “I have confidence that we’ve got people and that (things) will turn at some point — maybe tomorrow.”

The only piece of good news that came from Tuesday’s series-opening loss to the Royals is that All-Star second baseman Jonathan Schoop returned from the disabled list. He got a two-run single that helped the Baltimore offense.

Infielder Engelb Vielma was sent back to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Schoop.

The Orioles’ offense has been surprisingly ineffective this season. They scored seven runs Tuesday but those came after Kansas City had locked up the game.

Baltimore now has gotten most of its lineup back for the first time this season. Mark Trumbo has returned as well as Schoop, two key players who missed big chunks of the first five weeks.

Still, the Orioles have not come through at the plate at key times, something they did very well last year. They scored four in the ninth of Tuesday’s game but that was after Kansas City already had taken a 15-3 lead.