Only one of James Shields’ five previous starts has come at home, though being away from Kauffman Stadium hasn’t been much of a problem for Kansas City’s No. 1 pitcher.
Shields will go for his third straight win – all on the road – Sunday as the Royals look to win their three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles, who will be without their 2013 MVP candidate.
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has landed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique after originally believing he wouldn’t require an extended layoff.
"A little bit worse than what we thought it was going to be," Davis said after sitting out Baltimore’s 3-2, 10-inning win Saturday. "It’s kind of crazy because I don’t feel terrible. I’ve never had anything like this before. I figured it would just be a few days and then we’d forget about it."
Shields (2-2, 1.91 ERA) is 9-1 with a 1.43 ERA and .190 opponents’ batting average in 11 road starts since July 26. No other pitcher has more than seven away wins in that span.
While he won his final seven road outings last season, he hasn’t won three straight overall since stringing together five April 11-May 2, 2012. In his latest pair of back-to-back wins, the right-hander has a 1.29 ERA on 10 hits in 14 innings with 21 strikeouts.
The last time out, Shields allowed two runs – one earned – on six hits in six innings of Tuesday’s 8-2 win in Cleveland.
"I’ve been feeling comfortable on the road," Shields told the team’s official website. "What have I got – five games under my belt now and four of ’em on the road? And I think I had five out of six games on the road in spring training, too, so I’m getting used to pitching on the road."
He’s yet to face the Orioles as a member of the Royals, though he’s 6-2 with a 3.92 ERA in 12 career starts at Camden Yards.
The Orioles (12-11) counter with Miguel Gonzalez (1-1, 5.40), who has settled in after struggling though his first two starts. The right-hander has allowed seven hits in 10 2-3 innings in his previous two, including a no-decision in Tuesday’s 9-3 loss at Toronto. Still, he’s averaging just five innings per start and would like to keep his pitch count down to extend his outings.
"It bothers me because as starters we want to go as far as we can to keep our bullpen fresh," Gonzalez told the team’s official website. "That just didn’t happen tonight, and I wasn’t too happy about it."
He’s 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA in two career starts against the Royals (11-12), who will be trying to bounce back from Saturday’s walkoff loss.
Nick Markakis hit a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 10th to even the series 1-all. Playing first base in place of Davis, Markakis went 2 for 5 with two RBIs and is batting .375 in his last 10 games.
"It was an interesting day. Long day," Markakis said. "Get to the ballpark, ‘Hey, you are playing first base.’"
Markakis, batting .464 on a seven-game hitting streak against Kansas City, is a career .303 hitter in 66 at-bats against Shields with five doubles, two home runs and nine walks.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is 13 for 39 with five doubles, a triple and a home run in his career against Shields.
Royals catcher Salvador Perez went 3 for 5 on Saturday after entering with a 1-for-29 stretch weighing him down.