Orioles-Royals Preview

BY foxsports • April 24, 2016

The Baltimore Orioles are gaining believers with their impressive start, though a series win in the defending world champions' home park would add a little more credibility.

They'll have a chance to do just that Sunday against the Kansas City Royals, the latest team that's been unable to stop Manny Machado's early-season roll.

Held in check by Chris Young and three Royals relievers in Friday's 4-2 loss, the Orioles' offense returned to its productive ways by amassing a season-high 14 hits in Saturday's 8-3 win. Chris Davis broke out of a 3 for 22 funk by going 4 for 5 with a home run and two RBIs and Mark Trumbo drove in four on three hits.

Machado finished 2 for 5 with an RBI double to extend his hitting streak to 16 games, one shy of matching Davey Johnson's club record to begin a season set in 1971. He's batting .397 with six homers and 15 runs scored over the run.

''The way he's hitting the ball is kind of a level above,'' said Trumbo, who has 10 RBIs over an eight-game hitting streak and is batting .362 thus far. "His approach has been rock solid. When he's getting his pitch, he's doing a lot of damage.''

Baltimore (11-5) also received five-plus effective innings from Tyler Wilson in his first 2016 start, providing some relief to a bullpen that saw extended duty after Yovani Gallardo exited Friday's opener after two innings with shoulder tendinitis.

Gallardo was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday.

Orioles relievers combined for four scoreless innings on Saturday to lower the bullpen's ERA to 1.62, trailing only the White Sox for best in the majors.

''We had a couple of opportunities (against the bullpen) to crawl back in, but we just couldn't get a timely hit to push some runs across and make it a different ball game,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Baltimore hopes for similarly solid start from Mike Wright (1-1, 5.73 ERA) after he improved off a shaky season debut. After allowing four runs in five innings in a 9-5 win at Boston April 12, the right-hander held Toronto to three over six in Tuesday's 4-3 loss.

Wright allowed two homers to Lorenzo Cain and four runs through five innings against the Royals last September.

Cain is 3 for 21 over his last six games, but Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez have remained hot for Kansas City (11-6). Hosmer is batting .321 over a 13-game hitting streak and Perez is 6 for 18 with three homers and eight RBIs during a five-game stretch after delivering a two-run shot Saturday.

Machado is 3 for 7 against Yordano Ventura (1-0, 2.81), who earned his first win in three starts by holding Detroit to two runs in five innings on Tuesday. He was in line for another after yielding a run in six innings at Houston on April 13, exiting with a one-run lead the bullpen failed to hold.

Ventura has issued 12 walks in 16 innings but has had great success facing Davis, who's 0 for 7 with six strikeouts in their matchups.

The Orioles haven't taken a series in Kansas City since sweeping a two-game set in May 2012. Including the 2014 ALCS, they have won just two of their last 10 at Kauffman Stadium.