Royals-Orioles Preview

Manny Machado isn’t taking long to settle into the big leagues

and make an impact on the Baltimore Orioles.

After homering twice in just his second game, Machado has given

himself a tough act to follow Saturday night when he and the

Orioles continue their series against the Kansas City Royals.

Baltimore purchased the contract of Machado, the third overall

pick in the 2010 draft, Thursday. He went 2 for 4 with a triple in

his debut against Kansas City later that night.

His second game was even more impressive, as the 20-year-old

infielder became the youngest player in Orioles history to homer

twice in a game – a solo shot in the fifth inning and a three-run

blast in the sixth – and led Baltimore to a 7-1 win.

“It’s two games. He’s off to a good start,” manager Buck

Showalter said. “He’s hit some mistakes and hit them well, which

guys have to do up here. He’ll have the kitchen sink thrown at him

and we’ll see how it goes. But so far, so good.”

Machado’s four RBIs provided more than enough support for rookie

starter Miguel Gonzalez, who went eight innings while giving up a

solo homer to Salvador Perez. Baltimore has won six of seven and

currently holds one of the AL’s two wild-card spots.

While Machado has made a quick impact on the Orioles (61-52), it

has taken a little longer for Chris Tillman (5-1, 2.38 ERA) to

provide results.

Tillman, in his fourth season with the Orioles, had won seven

games his previous three years combined but has now won four

consecutive starts. He took a shutout into the eighth inning

against Seattle on Monday before giving up one run in a 3-1

victory.

“It feels good,” Tillman said. “I feel like I put a lot of work

in in the offseason and carried it into the season and spring

training and what not. I feel like it’s starting to pay off

here.”

Tillman is 0-1 in two career starts against the Royals, giving

up 11 runs and 17 hits over 8 1-3 innings.

Friday’s loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Kansas

City (48-64). The top four in its lineup went hitless with six

strikeouts. Billy Butler went 0 for 4 after recording three hits –

all for extra bases – on Thursday.

Kansas City will hand the ball to Luis Mendoza (5-8, 4.36), who

has posted a 5.40 ERA while losing his last three road starts. The

right-hander gave up four runs and seven hits, including two

homers, in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-2 loss at Chicago on Monday.

Mendoza hasn’t started against the Orioles since 2008, when he

surrendered five runs and six hits in three innings of a 9-1 loss

while with Texas.