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Three homers power Royals past Orioles

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- The Kansas City Royals came into Thursday night's game with the fewest home runs in the American League but broke out their power bats to help starter Jeremy Guthrie defeat his former team.

Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer both hit two-run homers in the fourth inning, and Mike Moustakas added a solo shot later as the Royals posted a 6-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night before 23,282 at Camden Yards.

The victory stopped a three-game losing streak for Kansas City (18-13) and prevented the Orioles (21-14) from completing a sweep of the three-game series. In addition, it stopped Baltimore's four-game winning streak. The Orioles, Boston and the Yankees are all in a virtual tie for first place in the American League East.

Kansas City had hit just 19 homers going into the game. By comparison, the Orioles already had belted 40. But things changed.

"We broke out and hit some homers tonight, which was good," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's good to see that."

The Orioles led 1-0 before Gordon crushed a two-run homer off Freddy Garcia (0-1) with one out in the fourth. Garcia had retired the first 10 Royals before Lorenzo Cain reached on an infield single, following by Gordon's blast to deep right.

Billy Butler then singled before Hosmer lined a 2-0 pitch into the seats in left center to give the Royals a 4-1 lead.

Hosmer hadn't homered in his last 144 at-bats, and it was his first round-tripper this season.

"It was definitely a sigh of relief," Hosmer said. "I knew it was a pretty long time. I wasn't too worried about it. I just wanted to stay with my approach and try to stay through the middle and not miss good pitches."

The left-handed-hitting Moustakas lined a solo shot off left-hander T.J. McFarland to start the seventh. The Kansas City third baseman's blast hit the right-field foul pole for a 5-2 lead.

The Royals' three homers represented the team's 2012 season high in a game.

All of that proved more than enough for Guthrie (5-0), who gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings. He has now won 10 straight decisions and hasn't lost in his last 18 starts.

But the former Oriole said there wasn't any extra emotion on his part in the first start against his old team.

"I was just trying to win the game," Guthrie said. "I think someone else put it this way: we've turned the page. Our offense did what we've been doing all year when I've been out there, score big runs, tack on a couple of extra ones."

The only other run Guthrie allowed came when Chris Davis hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the fourth.

Baltimore couldn't give Garcia any more offensive support in his second start with the team. He took a no-hitter into the seventh of his first start, last Saturday against the Angels, and the veteran right-hander looked good early.

But Garcia ran into home-run trouble in the fourth.

"I felt pretty good -- one bad inning, two bad pitches," Garcia said. "I was behind in the count to both hitters and I gave up two home runs, (four) runs."

The home runs accounted for five of the six Royals runs. Salvador Perez added a bloop single in the eighth for Kansas City's final run.

Aaron Crow (seventh), Kelvin Herrera (eighth) and Luke Hochevar (ninth) each came out of the bullpen to throw a shutout inning and finish off the Orioles.

Baltimore took a 1-0 lead in the second on J.J. Hardy's broken-bat bloop single to center. The hit scored Adam Jones, who reached on shortstop Alcides Escobar's throwing error -- his third in the last two games. Before the unearned run, Guthrie hadn't allowed a run in his previous two starts.

But that didn't hurt the Royals, thanks to the home runs.

"We had a little trouble keeping the ball in the park," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

NOTES: The start of the game was delayed 31 minutes as a storm that was expected never showed up. ... Hardy's single in the second inning extended his hitting streak to six games. He knocked in the game's first run for a second consecutive night. Hardy hit a two-run homer on Wednesday to give the Orioles a lead they never lost. ... The Orioles put right-hander Miguel Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Saturday, because of blister problems on his right thumb. The team still needs to decide who will take his spot in the rotation on Saturday in Minnesota. ... Gordon has homered in three straight games for the first time in his career. ... Hosmer's last home came Sept. 11, 2012.
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