Orioles 9, Royals 1

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—A little extra work between starts helped Steve Trachsel pitch an unusual complete game.

Handed a big lead by Ramon Hernandez’s grand slam, Trachsel pitched a five-hitter for his first nine-inning complete game in four years, leading the Baltimore Orioles over the Kansas City Royals 9-1 Monday night without a single strikeout.

“The way they were attacking the ball, I didn’t get into many counts where I was looking for strikeouts,” Trachsel said. “They weren’t overly selective. I’ll have to look, but I’m sure it was unusual.”

It was the fifth loss in a row for the Royals, who have been outscored 45-11 during their skid. The Orioles have scored 25 runs while winning three straight after losing four of five.

Trachsel (4-3) won for the third straight start. Unhappy with his mechanics, he’d been working the previous few days harder than normal.

“Once we got the early lead, I was able to mix up my pitches and throw strikes to all of them,” he said. “They were swinging at 1-0 curveballs and hitting a lot of balls on the ground.”

Trachsel also benefited from several outstanding defensive plays, including two by second baseman Brian Roberts on the first two hitters.

“Brian was outstanding,” said Jay Payton, who had two RBIs. “If those two balls get past him for hits, who knows how that could have changed the game?”

Hernandez victimized Scott Elarton (1-1) for his fifth career grand slam in the fourth, giving Trachsel a 6-0 lead. The Royals have allowed six slams this year, most in the majors, and two in three games.

“I was trying to get a good pitch to hit and a good count to hit and I got it,” Hernandez said. “I was trying to hit the ball hard and get at least one in. Luckily, it went out of the park.”

Trachsel took a two-hit shutout into the seventh but surrendered a leadoff double to Mark Grudzielanek, who scored on Mike Sweeney’s groundout. Trachsel escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth when Mark Teahen flied out.

“We helped him early on, swinging at the first pitch,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys who are—I hate to say this— trying to do too much. I have a hard time believing that you can do too much, but we’ve got guys who are just trying to put all of us on their shoulders. And it doesn’t work that way.”

Trachsel walked three, struck out none and threw 104 pitches in his first complete game since a rain-shortened, four-inning loss for the New York Mets on May 11 last year at Philadelphia. His previous nine-inning complete game was a two-hitter for the Mets against Colorado on Aug. 18. 2003.

This was his 20th complete game. Before the winning streak, Trachsel had been 0-2 in his previous four starts.

Elarton gave up seven runs, six hits and four walks in five innings with a season-high five strikeouts. Fighting his control all night, he went to 3-2 counts on three straight batters—walking two—before Hernandez hit a 1-1 delivery 401 feet over the fence in left-center for his first slam this season.

Baltimore built a 2-0 lead on Aubrey Huff’s RBI single in the first inning and Payton’s RBI grounder in the fourth.

Notes

Monday was the 49th birthday of Royals bench coach Bill Doran. … Baltimore LHP Jamie Walker traveled home to be with his wife, who gave birth to a son. He expected to be gone two days. … Mora grounded into his 13th double play of the season, which leads the league. … It was the first game of a season-long, 10-game trip for the Orioles. … On Saturday night, Gil Meche gave up the first major league slam by Seattle’s Kenji Johjima.

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