Nelson Cruz homered as the first-placed Baltimore Orioles beat the Kansas City Royals 2-1 on Thursday to snap a four-game losing streak.
Cruz homered in the fourth after Chris Davis drew a walk to lead off the inning. It was Cruz’s 12th home run, who is second in the American League to the 15 of Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Abreu. Cruz’s 35 RBIs are tied for second in the American League.
Photo: John Rieger-USA Today
Taiwan’s Chen Wei-yin (5-2) limited the Royals to one run and seven hits over 5-1/3 innings with one walk and one strikeout.
Chen, who is 5-1 in his past seven starts, was removed in the sixth after Salvador Perez walked and Alex Gordon singled with one out.
Darren O’Day replaced Chen and struck out Danny Valencia and retried Johnny Giavotella on a fly to right.
Royals rookie right-hander Yordano Ventura (2-3) struck out nine and walked one in 6-1/3 innings, allowing two runs and seven hits. After Cruz’s home run, Ventura retired the next 10 batters, striking out seven, including six straight in one stretch.
Valencia’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the fourth scored Eric Hosmer for the only run off Chen.
Left-hander Zack Britton, who had not allowed a run in 7-1/3 innings and eight appearances, worked a perfect ninth for his first major league save. Manager Buck Showalter elected to go to Britton after closer Tommy Hunter blew his past two save chances.
The Royals did not have a base-runner off four Baltimore relievers, who retired 11 straight.
The Orioles, who went one for nine with runners in scoring position, threatened in the seventh and eighth innings, but came away empty-handed.
Gordon, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, threw out J.J. Hardy at the plate to end the seventh inning for his fourth outfield assist this season and his 58th since moving to the outfield in 2011.
Hardy attempted to score from second on Nick Markakis’ single.
Manny Machado and Adam Jones led off the Orioles’ eighth inning with singles off Louis Coleman, the third Kansas City pitcher.
Kelvin Herrera replaced Coleman and struck out Davis and Cruz, before retiring Steve Clevenger on a grounder to strand the runners.
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