Conine played a big role in Loewen getting his first major league victory, homering in his first four-hit game of the season as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 on Wednesday night.
“The old man and the young pup,” Conine said. “It’s nice to see him finally get a win. He’s thrown the ball well in his other starts, but he’s thrown a few bad innings that makes his numbers not look so good. Anytime I can help out, I’m just happy to be here.”
Loewen, a 22-year-old left-hander from Canada making his seventh big league start, held the Royals to one run and six hits over five-plus innings. He struck out five and walked three.
“Conine had a great day,” Loewen said. “He’s deserved it. It’s not easy to go out there every day at 40 years old. A lot of credit has to go to him. He works hard to keep his body in shape. Not a lot of guys can do that.”
Conine, who has hit .364 since the All-Star break to raise his average to .270, has been linked to several trade rumors for contending teams looking to add a bat.
“Your hear your name a lot, but I get real good at ignoring all the talk,” said Conine, a 58th-round draft pick of the Royals in 1987. “Not once have I been traded before the trade deadline.”
Emil Brown and Mark Teahen singled with one out in the fourth, but Loewen struck out Angel Berroa and Shane Costa to end the inning. In the fifth, David DeJesus doubled and Gruzielanek walked, but Loewen retired Matt Stairs on a fielder’s choice grounder to end the threat.
“In the fifth inning, it could have gone the same way it has been going,” Loewen said. “I really beared down and tried to throw the best possible pitches. That’s what I’ve been doing all the long. This time it worked out for me and I got that groundball out.
“I think I’ve pitched well in the past. There’s always been that one inning where I’ve been tiring and I couldn’t get that last out, but today I did it.”
Loewen was pulled in the sixth after giving up a leadoff double to Brown and walking Teahen. Todd Williams replaced Loewen and yielded a two-out, RBI single to Costa, who drove in all three runs for Kansas City.
In the eighth, the Royals pulled within one on Costa’s two-run double off Chris Ray, who picked up his 25th save in 26 opportunities.
“I was kind of getting antsy for my first win,” Loewen said. “I really wanted to get this one out of the way. It made it a little bit more nerve-racking when they got it to one run. You leave with a lead and they claw back. I got a little nervous.”
Conine homered to lead off the sixth to knock out Royals starter Runelvys Hernandez (2-5). Conine is 7-for-11 (.636) with two home runs and a double lifetime off Hernandez.
“I didn’t hit all of them hard, but they all found green glass in the outfield,” Conine said. “Anytime you can squeak out four it’s a good night.”
The bottom third of the Orioles’ batting order did most of the damage as Conine, Markakis and Chris Gomez combined for eight hits, three RBIs and scored three runs. Conine singled in the eighth for his 18th four-hit game and his first since May 31, 2004.
“Conine had a great night,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. “After thee hits, he said, ‘I like this DH-ing.’ Obviously, he still has something in his tank.”
Said Royals manager Buddy Bell, “Conine is a true professional. He’s been a tough out for a long, long time. He takes what the pitcher gives him and doesn’t overswing.”
Markakis singled home Corey Patterson, who led off the second with a bunt single and advanced to third on Conine’s single.
In the fourth, Gomez’s single scored Conine and Markakis.
Hernandez yielded four runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings in his second start since being recalled on July 20 from Triple-A Omaha.
“I made a couple of mistakes and paid for it,” Hernandez said.
Royals 1B Doug Mientkiewicz was unavailable Wednesday after re-aggravating a sciatic nerve in his back. Matt Stairs started at 1B. … LHP Jorge de la Rosa, who was picked up in a trade Tuesday with Milwaukee, will start on Saturday for the Royals, replacing RHP Brandon Duckworth in the rotation. … The Orioles are 10-25 when the opponent starts a left-hander. LHP Jimmy Gobble will start for the Royals Thursday in the series finale.