Royals-Orioles Preview

The Baltimore Orioles couldn’t carry their offensive surge into their series with the Kansas City Royals, who were able to take advantage and snap out of their slump.

Kansas City looks to win a fourth straight meeting with Baltimore as former Oriole Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound Saturday night at Camden Yards.

The Orioles (11-11) entered Friday’s series opener coming off wins of 10-8 on Wednesday and 11-7 on Thursday over Toronto, but they were cooled by Royals starter Yordano Ventura in a 5-0 loss.

Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy each had two hits for Baltimore, which went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. It got only one runner past second base against Ventura in eight innings.

Kansas City (11-11), which had lost four of five, ranks among the AL’s best with a 3.15 ERA, and Guthrie will look to improve his own numbers after making costly mistakes in his last outing.

Guthrie (2-1, 4.68 ERA) has pitched at least into the sixth inning in each of his four starts, but he’s allowed four runs three times. He allowed four runs and 10 hits – including two homers for the second straight game – over 6 1-3 of a 4-3 loss at Cleveland on Monday.

"The two (two-run) homers are what did the damage," manager Ned Yost said. "Outside of that, I thought he threw the ball well."

The right-hander, who went 47-65 with a 4.12 ERA in 153 starts and eight relief appearances for the Orioles from 2007-11, won both of his starts while posting a 1.50 ERA against his former team last season.

Chris Davis is 1 for 16 with a homer and six strikeouts off Guthrie, but Davis’ status going forward is uncertain after he left in the fifth inning Friday due to a strained left oblique.

”We’ll know more about it (Saturday),” Davis said. ”I’ve never had an oblique strain or whatever you want to call it, but it doesn’t feel so bad right now that I can’t move or anything like that. So I think right now we’ll just take it one day at a time.”

Adam Jones, who went 0 for 4, said he hopes Davis doesn’t rush back if the injury continues to bother him.

”CD is a big, big part of our lineup and part of our plan,” Jones said. ”Whatever it is, you just want him to take his time and not rush it because it could be longer.”

The Orioles will look to bounce back with help from Wei-Yin Chen, whose record is a bit deceiving considering how he’s struggled at times.

Chen (3-1, 4.91) has picked up the victory in three straight starts, though he’s allowed eight runs and walked five in 16 1-3 innings in that stretch. He gave up three runs and walked three in five frames of a 7-6 win at Boston on Monday.

The left-hander is 0-1 with a 5.18 ERA in four career starts against the Royals, but he was solid while allowing three runs in 7 1-3 innings of Baltimore’s 4-3 loss the last time he faced them July 24.

Billy Butler is 7 for 12 with a triple and two doubles and Eric Hosmer is 5 for 11 off Chen, with each hitting a pair of homers.

Butler went 2 for 5 with two RBIs in the series opener after going 2 for 16 over his previous four games.