Baltimore (32-42) at Kansas City (29-46)

Fair Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 69° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Thu Jul 1, 2004
  • TV: CSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After trading their best offensive player last week, the Kansas City Royals now are focusing on trying to fix their horrid pitching as they close out a four-game set with the Baltimore Orioles.

The Royals, who have the worst record and second-worst staff ERA in the American League, fired pitching coach John Cumberland on Wednesday, six days after sending sent star outfielder Carlos Beltran to the Houston Astros.

The Royals’ staff ERA of 5.01 is next-to-last behind Baltimore’s 5.21.

Mike Mason, the organization’s roving pitching instructor, will serve as interim pitching coach for the rest of the season.

“It did come as a surprise,” pitcher Jimmy Gobble said. “During the season you’re not looking for changes, especially with the coaches. It’s the first time for me to have to deal with something like this.”

The Royals’ pitching woes continued Wednesday as they fell to the Orioles 13-4. Starter Brian Anderson allowed eight runs—five earned—in two innings.

The Orioles, meanwhile, can win their first series in a month with a victory Thursday. Baltimore has dropped eight straight series since a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers from May 28-30.

In Wednesday’s win, Javy Lopez was 4-for-4, scored three times and drove in a run. Melvin Mora, who returned after missing 10 games with a foot injury, was 2-for-4 and raised his average to .357.

After a long losing stretch, the Orioles have begun to play better, manager Lee Mazzilli said.

“I feel very good about the direction we’re going,” he said. “I think we’re seeing a change. I told them today I feel a lot of progress.”

Chad Mottola, who was called up from Triple-A Ottawa earlier in the day, hit a three-run homer in the third inning. It was his first round tripper in eight years.

“It feels like about 20,” the veteran outfielder said.

Miguel Tejada and David Newhan also hit homers, as every starter scored. The Orioles matched a season high for runs.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Lopez Phi vs. Z. Greinke LAD
14-9 Record 8-11
3.59 ERA 3.97
121 K 100
54 BB 26
1.28 WHIP 1.17