Coming off a successful road trip, the Baltimore Orioles are hoping to carry their momentum over at home.
The Orioles aim for a third straight win as they open a three-game set against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
Averaging 5.0 runs to rank near the top of the majors, Baltimore (19-13) scored an 5.3 per game and hit 14 home runs during its recently completed 11-game trek.
"Anytime you go to the West Coast for 12 days and you can walk out of there with even a .500 mark, you're feeling pretty good about yourself. But to come away with seven wins out of 11, that's pretty impressive," pitcher Jason Hammel said.
Hammel won his third straight start as the Orioles pulled out an 8-4 victory Sunday to take three of four from the Los Angeles Angels . Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy both hit two-run homers and Ryan Flaherty added two RBIs for Baltimore, which went 6 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
"For us to take three of four here is huge," reliever Darren O'Day said. "We've been consistent. We might not blow your doors off, but we're going to play baseball. And we probably haven't played our best baseball yet."
The Orioles will try to stay hot against Royals starter Ervin Santana (3-1, 2.00), who threw four scoreless innings Thursday versus Tampa Bay before the game was called due to weather. Again seeking his 100th victory, Santana is 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA over his last four outings.
"He's been pretty electric," first baseman Eric Hosmer said.
Santana, 4-5 with a 5.42 ERA in 12 starts versus Baltimore, is 2-3 with a 7.06 mark over his last five visits to Camden Yards. Hardy is 3 for 10 with two homers against the right-hander, but Matt Wieters is 1 for 11.
Chris Davis , 5 for 23 with three homers and two doubles versus Santana, went 1 for 4 with an RBI on Sunday after missing the previous game with a knee injury. He's among the major league leaders with nine homers and 30 RBIs.
The Orioles give the ball to Wei-Yin Chen (2-3, 3.50 ERA). After scattering two hits and two walks over a career-high eight innings in a 3-0 win at Oakland on April 26, Chen allowed five runs and eight hits over a career-worst four innings during Wednesday's 8-3 loss at Seattle.
"From outstanding to the worst," he told MLB's official website through his interpreter. "I tried to throw first-pitch strikes. But I tried to think too much, I tried to attack both sides of the plate and it didn't work at all."
The left-hander was also knocked around in his last matchup against Kansas City (17-11), yielding a career high-tying seven runs and nine hits over 4 2-3 innings of an 8-2 loss Aug. 9. He'll need to solve Billy Butler , who's gone 5 for 6 with two homers, a triple and a double in their matchups.
The Royals found themselves on the verge of a season-best fifth consecutive victory before coming undone Monday in a 2-1, 11-inning loss to the Chicago White Sox. Closer Greg Holland allowed the tying run in the ninth before Kelvin Herrera surrendered a go-ahead homer in the 11th.
The Royals, hitting .300 with runners in scoring position on the road, play 12 of their next 15 in opposing ballparks.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is batting .329 with three homers and 12 RBIs during a 20-game hitting streak in the series.
|Kansas City Royals|
|March 31, 2013||Danny Duffy||15-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|February 12, 2013||Felipe Paulino||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|May 03, 2013||Chris Davis||Day-to-Day||Left game - right knee soreness|
|April 28, 2013||Taylor Teagarden||15-Day DL||Dislocated left thumb|
|April 07, 2013||Nolan Reimold||Day-to-Day||Right hamstring tightness|
|April 05, 2013||Brian Roberts||15-Day DL||Ruptured tendon, right knee|
|April 04, 2013||Brian Roberts||Day-to-Day||Right hamstring injury|
|March 26, 2013||Wilson Betemit||60-Day DL||Right PCL tear|
BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Baltimore Orioles usually like to slug their way to victory.
On this occasion, they were quite content to get the pivotal run via a walk, an errant pickoff throw and a well-placed fly ball.
Matt Wieters drove in three runs, including the tiebreaker in the eighth inning, and the Orioles beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 Tuesday night on a soggy night at Camden Yards.
After blowing a three-run lead, the Orioles went back on top in the eighth. Adam Jones drew a leadoff walk from Tim Collins (1-1) and advanced when Luke Hochevar threw wildly to first base on a pickoff attempt. Wieters then lofted an opposite-field fly to left that appeared to hit the foul line for a double.
"I was hoping," Wieters said. "I was leaning it and I was pretty excited when the umpire made the fair signal."
The Orioles came into the game with 39 home runs, including 17 that gave them the lead and four that tied it. On this night, they found a different way to win.
Besides scoring in unusual fashion in the eighth, Baltimore turned three double plays and got a fielding gem from shortstop J.J. Hardy.
"When you don't walk people and you catch the baseball the way we did tonight, you give yourself a chance to win those types of games," manager Buck Showalter said.
The Royals, on the other hand, got a huge home run from Alex Gordon . But they were done in by a walk and an error.
"The leadoff walk is something that's going to get you in trouble just about every time, especially late in the game," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said.
Tommy Hunter (2-1) worked 1 1-3 innings of relief and Jim Johnson got three straight outs for his 12th save.
It was the fourth win in five games for the Orioles, who moved within a game of first-place Boston in the AL East.
"This team grinds it out," Hunter said. "This team is fun to watch for everybody. Nobody should ever leave the stadium, I'll tell you that much, under any circumstances."
Even on a brisk, wet night.
Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen had a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning when rain forced a 48-minute delay. After play resumed, Brian Matusz got an out before yielding a two-run homer to Gordon.
Chen allowed two runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Ervin Santana gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings for Kansas City. The right-hander walked one and struck out four.
"First inning I was always in trouble, but after that I settled down and threw a lot of strikes and blew guys away," Santana said.
Baltimore went up 3-0 in the first. Singles by Manny Machado , Nick Markakis and Adam Jones produced a run before Wieters hit a two-out, two-run double.
"I missed that one. He hit a mistake," Santana said.
In the third, former Oriole Miguel Tejada hit a one-out single and scored on a single by Alcides Escobar . In the bottom half, Tejada made a diving stop of Jones' grounder to third and made a successful throw to first while in a sitting position.
Hardy saved a run with a sparkling dive-and-throw play in the fourth. With two outs and a runner on second, Hardy went to the edge of the outfield grass to snare a grounder by Salvador Perez before throwing to first while on his knees.
Santana regrouped from his shaky start to retire 12 straight batters until Nate McLouth singled with two outs in the fifth. Machado followed with a single before Markakis hit a fly to left.
NOTES: The Orioles will probably move RHP Miguel Gonzalez back from his scheduled Wednesday start because of a blister on his thumb. ... Santana's streak of 13 consecutive scoreless innings ended abruptly in the first. ... Baltimore 2B Brian Roberts , who's been on the DL since April 5 with a right hamstring strain, still isn't feeling right and will visit Dr. Daniel Cooper in Dallas for a second opinion. "He just doesn't feel like it's moving at the pace he was hoping," Showalter said. ... Royals RHP Luis Mendoza (0-1, 7.00 ERA) vies for his first win of the season on Wednesday. Chris Tillman (2-1, 3.63) will start for the Orioles.