Orioles 11, Royals 1
Miguel Tejada and Melvin Mora also homered for the Orioles, who hadn’t won two in a row since April 28-29. The victory, combined with Friday night’s win, assured Baltimore its first series win in eight tries.
“This is the type of game that the team needs to get us going,” Lopez said. “This is a time we need to get back on track and closer to the (first-place New York) Yankees.”
Baltimore, which stayed 5 1/2 games behind the Yankees, simply overwhelmed the woeful Royals.
“Today, everything came together,” Hernandez said. “We hit when we had to, pitched well and played good defense. Everything went right.”
Tejada hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning to put the Orioles up 5-1. Hernandez, Lopez and Mora connected in a six-run eighth against Chris Booker.
Hernandez started the eighth with a solo shot. Lopez, activated off the 15-day disabled list before the game, added a three-run drive and Mora homered with a man on. The last time the Orioles hit three home runs in an inning was exactly two years earlier, on May 13, 2004, at Chicago.
Lopez was delighted to be so productive on his first day back.
“That was a big relief for me. I’m glad it happened for me on the first day. That way I can get my confidence back,” he said. “As you know, being back from the disabled list, the toughest day is the first day.”
Benson (5-3) gave up four hits, struck out five and walked one. The right-hander was coming off a miserable performance in Boston, where he allowed nine runs in 4 1-3 innings.
“Kris had command of all his pitches. Fastball, slider, changeup, curve. He used all of them,” said Hernandez, the starting catcher. “He was ahead in the count early, then made them chase his pitches.”
Benson permitted only one runner past first base before Matt Stairs homered in the seventh.
“The tempo of the game was set by Kris. He pitched extremely well and allowed the offense to go to work,” said Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo, who arrived at the ballpark about 20 minutes before the first pitch after attending the college graduation of his son.
“It was a good day all around,” Perlozzo said.
Stairs and Mark Grudzielanek both had two hits, but the rest of the Royals offered little support for starter Mark Redman (0-3), who remained winless since July 24, when he beat Colorado as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“He was all right. He had some problems early again, in the first inning,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “But until the Tejada home run we were still in the game.”
Kansas City fell to 2-16 on the road and 0-8 against the AL East.
“It’s just two games. We played good baseball yesterday, unfortunately we didn’t pitch well today and didn’t swing the bats as well,” Redman said. “But we should just put that behind us and come out tomorrow and end this series on a good note.”
Baltimore went up 2-0 in the first inning on a two-out double by Hernandez.
Redman retired nine straight batters before the Orioles struck with two outs in fourth. Corey Patterson reached on a bunt before Lopez drew a walk. Luis Matos followed with an RBI single for a 3-0 lead.
In the fifth, Mora led off with a double before Tejada hit his 10th homer. Tejada entered the game batting .352, but was in a 4-for-35 slump before connecting.
“When you try to pitch inside you’ve got to get it in there,” Redman said. “The first pitch was inside and the next one I tried to get it in on his hands, but I left it too much over the plate and I got burned by it.”
To make room for Lopez on the 25-man roster, the Orioles designated OF Luis Terrero for assignment. … Benson is the first Baltimore starter to earn a win in nine games. He was the last one to do it, on May 2 vs. Toronto. … The Royals have homered in six straight games.