Orioles try to stay on track in opener with Royals
(Sports Network) - The streaking Baltimore Orioles look to extend their winning streak to a season-high six straight games when they kick off a four- game series versus the Kansas City Royals tonight from Camden Yards.
The Orioles recorded a three-game sweep of the visiting Seattle Mariners with Wednesday's 9-2 drubbing, as Mark Reynolds and Nick Markakis both homered, and Matt Wieters finished with two doubles and five RBI.
Adam Jones ended 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored for Baltimore, which is 3-0 on a 10-game homestand and remained 4 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees for the AL East lead. The Yankees defeated Detroit last night.
Steve Johnson struck out nine batters and allowed two runs in six innings for the win in his first major league start.
"He was good, had command of the fastball," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Johnson. "He got a little tired there at the end. I really wanted to send him out there for one hitter in the next inning."
Wednesday's win was the 60th of the season for the O's, who won 69 games last season.
Prior to the game, the Orioles placed infielder Ryan Flaherty on the 15-day disabled list, and recalled Johnson and reliever Miguel Socolovich from Triple-A Norfolk. Socolovich escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning and also pitched the ninth.
After the game, the Orioles announced infielder Manny Machado will be called up from Double-A Bowie to make his major league debut Thursday night. Machado was the third overall pick in the 2010 draft and batted .266 with 11 homers and 59 RBI in 109 games with the Baysox this season.
"If we can do something that makes us two inches better to have a chance to win the last 49 games, we're going to do it," Showalter said in reference to bringing up Machado.
Wei-Yin Chen is another one of Showalter's young pieces to the puzzle and he gets the nod Thursday. Chen has won two straight and three of four starts, and tossed seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 win at Tampa Bay on Saturday, improving to 10-6 in 22 starts with a 3.46 earned run average.
Chen, a left-hander, faced Kansas City in a 4-3 loss on May 26 and did not record a decision after giving up two runs in six innings.
Kansas City enters this series having won six of nine games, and recently took two of three meetings with the Chicago White Sox.
In Wednesday's 2-1 win at U.S. Cellular Field, Jeremy Guthrie got his first victory (1-3) in a Kansas City uniform by tossing eight shutout innings with six strikeouts and no walks. Greg Holland allowed a run in the ninth, but was able to pick up his third save.
"He's gotten progressively a little bit better with each start," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He was really good against Texas in his last start and was just absolutely spot-on, spectacular tonight."
Guthrie was making his fourth start for Kansas City since being acquired from Colorado on July 20 and had lost his previous nine decisions.
Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez both homered, while Jeff Francoeur posted a pair of hits for the Royals.
Will Smith will make his eighth career start for the Royals and the young southpaw is 2-4 with a 6.00 earned run average in his first seven trips to the hill. Smith lost to Texas in Saturday's 4-2 defeat, as he gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Smith is 2-1 in four road assignments and has never faced Baltimore.
The Orioles lead the season series with Kansas City, 3-2.