Baltimore must win the second game of its three-game set at Kauffman Stadium to have any chance for a fifth straight series win over Kansas City.
The Orioles (45-56) have lost five of six, having opened this series with a 7-5 defeat to the Royals on Tuesday.
After his team stranded 13 runners and committed three errors, Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo kept the clubhouse doors closed for several minutes and chewed out his team.
“The effort wasn’t there,” Perlozzo said. “The intensity level wasn’t there. I met with them long enough to get my point across. That being that, we’re all in this together as a team. Our concentration levels have to be higher at this level to win, and we talked about this.”
Baltimore is now only three games ahead of last-place Tampa Bay in the AL East. The team hasn’t been 12 games below the break-even mark since finishing last season 74-88.
The Orioles have won nine of their last 12 against Kansas City (35-64), including a three-game sweep May 12-14 in the only previous series between the teams this season.
Mark Teahen led the Royals to their first win over the Orioles this year with two homers and a career-high five RBIs on Tuesday. Angel Berroa went 3-for-3 and Matt Stairs scored three runs for Kansas City, which rallied from 4-0 down to win for the fourth time in 14 games.
Orioles left-hander Adam Loewen (0-2, 7.09 ERA) will face the Royals for the first time Wednesday.
Loewen is trying to rebound from a forgettable appearance Friday. He replaced starter Russ Ortiz, who was pulled after allowing six runs without recording an out, but didn’t fare much better as he gave up five runs and six hits in four innings of a 14-7 loss to the Devil Rays.
Loewen helped Baltimore beat Oakland 5-3 in his only start since being recalled from the minors earlier this month, overcoming six walks to pitch five innings as he allowed two runs and one hit.
The Royals counter with Jimmy Gobble (3-3, 4.88), who won his only career start against the Orioles in 2004.
The left-hander lasted only four innings in his last start, giving up four runs and six hits in the Royals’ 9-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. Gobble is 0-2 with a 9.51 ERA in his last three starts.
Royals closer Ambiorix Burgos picked up his 15th save in 24 opportunities Tuesday for a Kansas City team that continues to revamp its bullpen.
Kansas City also dealt closer Mike MacDougal to the Chicago White Sox on Monday, and sent relief pitcher Elmer Dessens to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday. The Royals received left-hander Odalis Perez, four minor league pitchers and cash considerations in those two deals.
“We’re playing better ball and then you lose a few major parts of that,” Teahen said. “It is definitely tough … ‘Graff’ gets traded 20 minutes before the game. I don’t think guys were totally focused on what was going on because of the quickness of that.”
The Orioles have hit seven homers in four games against Kansas City pitchers this season, including Luis Terrero’s first of the season on Tuesday.
Miguel Tejada has two homers against the Royals this season, though he did not hit one Tuesday despite going 4-for-4 while raising his batting average to .329. Tejada is 13-for-17 (.765) over the last four games.