Starting on Friday night, the Royals were set to play nine straight games against teams with over 80 losses. Allowing 34 runs in four games against Oakland, Kansas City would welcome the Baltimore Orioles for a three-game set. Battling it out for higher position in next year’s draft, the Orioles rocked the Royals in game one, 14-2.
Suspended for PEDs for the first 81 games of the season, Eric Skoglund started on the mound for just the second time in 2019. Coming off a performance at Cleveland in which he allowed one run over five frames, the lanky lefty would not build off his strong outing. However, in the top of the first, he faced the minimum in a scoreless inning.
In the home half, Jorge Soler continued his trek towards the history books. Homering in the loss to the Athletics on Sunday, the Cuban slugger ambushed Baltimore starter John Means on his third pitch of the game. Crushing it just over the wall in left field and into the bullpen, Soler tied Mike Moustakas at 38 home runs as well as give Kansas City a 1-0 lead.
Officially in the record books.— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) August 31, 2019
Now it's time to rewrite them. pic.twitter.com/xeh6Q4OxQz
Unfortunately, this was about the only highlight for the Royals on the evening. In the ensuing inning, Baltimore knotted it back up on a RBI-single from Pedro Severino. Tied at one a piece heading to the third, the Orioles jumped all over Skoglund. Constantly falling behind in the count, the Baltimore lineup seldom missed on his fastball. After a double and a single to lead off the frame, Anthony Santander pounded a 2-0 pitch into the fountains in left-center for a three-run bomb. The bleeding didn’t stop there. With a runner at third and one out, Severino popped a lazy fly ball into shallow right-center field. But neither Bubba Starling, Merrifield, or Lopez could see it in the twilight as the ball dropped in between all three. The Orioles recorded their fifth run of the inning on a sacrifice fly from Richie Martin.
The score stalled until the bottom of fourth when the Royals began chipping away. After Hunter Dozier started the rally with a double, Alex Gordon pushed him to third on a single to left field. Cheslor Cuthbert followed that up by driving in Dozier with a single of his own to make it 6-2. However, two pop outs and a strikeout halted the comeback there.
Skoglund’s night came to a close at four innings, allowing six runs on nine hits. Kyle Zimmer entered for the top of the fifth to log innings in relief. Similar to Skoglund’s outing, Zimmer was knocked around to push the game out of reach. Tagged for two more runs, Baltimore extended its lead to 8-2. Tossing 2 1⁄3 frames in all, the Royals’ right-hander surrendered four runs on five hits and one walk.
Trailing 12-2 heading into the top of the ninth, Alex Gordon came on to pitch for the second time in less than a week. Allowing two runs, the 35-year-old saw his career ERA move to 19.29.
Tomorrow, Kansas City will send Jorge López to the bump. Baltimore will go with Dylan Bundy. First pitch is set for 6:15 CT.