The Kansas City Royals were able to put everything together in the first game of their three-game series against the host Baltimore Orioles on Monday night. Now, the Royals want to see if they can do it again when the two teams meet again Tuesday.
In the series opener, the Royals did not get a hit until the sixth inning but scored three times in that frame and twice more in the seventh en route to a 5-4 victory. Nicky Lopez broke up Baltimore starter John Means' no-hit bid in the sixth and then homered off Gabriel Ynoa on the first pitch of the seventh.
Nick Dini then homered on the next pitch, and that gave the Royals a 5-2 lead. That was his first major league homer -- in just his fourth major league game -- and proved crucial as Kansas City held on.
"As soon as we got that first hit, it kind of opened up the floodgates a little bit," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said.
Keller has lost four in a row but the team has scored just five runs in those games.
On the injury front, shortstop Adalberto Mondesi is going to start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday. Mondesi (shoulder subluxation) has missed the past 30 games, and Yost said Monday they've got no official timetable for his return, but it's likely going to be in September.
Also, pitcher Danny Duffy is scheduled to throw a simulated four-inning game Tuesday. He's been out since Aug. 6 (retroactive to Aug. 4) with a left hamstring strain, and the team is hoping he could be back this weekend if all goes well.
The pitching matchup for the middle game of this three-game series will feature right-hander Keller against Baltimore right-hander Dylan Bundy (5-13, 5.25).
Keller has a 1-0 career record and a 2.25 ERA versus the Orioles in one career start.
Bundy has lost two in a row but pitched better lately. Against the Royals, he's 1-1 with a 5.66 ERA in five career games, four of which were starts.
The biggest problem the Orioles have had most of the season is not getting good enough -- and long enough -- efforts from their starters. Means pitched well in those first five innings of no-hit ball but struggled in the sixth.
"My pitches were doing what they were supposed to," he said. "I was locating when I was supposed to. Then in the sixth, I started to trend back into what I was doing wrong."
The Orioles are hoping Bundy can find the consistency that has eluded him this season. He's not been the dominant pitcher the Orioles liked before the 2018 season, when everything went south for the right-hander.
Baltimore needs help from the starters to relieve pressure from the bullpen. That hasn't happened yet this season.
Also, the offense did better after slumping in recent games. Rookie DJ Stewart drove in his first two runs of the season while Rio Ruiz and Jonathan Villar both got solo homers.
The Orioles need more consistency on offense as that would relieve pressure on the pitchers. That's what they're hoping for in the final five weeks.
--Field Level Media