BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles are back at .500, thanks to a seeing-eye single from a guy better known for his power.
Vladimir Guerrero’s hit drove in Robert Andino in the 12th inning, allowing the Orioles to beat the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on Thursday for their season-high fifth straight victory.
Nolan Reimold had four hits, including two homers, and four RBIs for the Orioles, who squandered a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the 11th before coming through an inning later.
“It feels real good,” Reimold said. “You never know really what to expect for the game. I was happy to have a good game, very happy that we got the win. So I’ll just enjoy it.”
At 24-24, the Orioles are at .500 for the first time since they were 13-13 on May 1, and their hot streak coincides with Reimold’s return. Since being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on May 20, Reimold is 6 for 11 with three home runs.
“We’ve got a little win streak going, so it feels very good,” Reimold said. “Now we’ve got to get on the road and keep it going.”
Andino led off the 12th with a single off Louis Coleman (0-2), the sixth Kansas City pitcher. Adam Jones popped out trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt and Nick Markakis was intentionally walked before Guerrero hit a bouncing single up the middle for the winning run.
“I was trying to look for a good pitch to hit and get a base hit,” Guerrero said through translator Rudy Arias, an Orioles staff assistant. “Nothing to pull or home runs, just trying to get good contact.”
Guerrero’s hit bounded over second base just out of the reach of shortstop Alcides Escobar and second baseman Chris Getz, who were charging toward the middle of the diamond after playing the slugger straight up.
The turn of events left Coleman dejected.
“I was a little aggravated that it got through,” Coleman said. “It’s very frustrating. It’s just part of the game though. It will be a steppingstone and something that hopefully brings out more character and we’ll learn from it next time.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Guerrero is tough for opponents to defend because of his bat control.
“You play (Guerrero) to pull in the hole because he hits so many balls in that hole, but also because he’s so strong, he topspins a lot of balls up the middle of the diamond,” Showalter said.
Jeremy Accardo (3-1) worked two perfect innings for the win. The Royals lost their fifth straight.
“Early in the year we were finding ways to win extra-inning games,” Kansas City’s Alex Gordon said. “We’d come up big somehow. Now we’re not finding ways to win at the end of the game. We just didn’t capitalize today.”
The Royals took a 4-0 lead in the second, sending nine to the plate against Jeremy Guthrie.
Jeff Francoeur led off with a single, went to third on Wilson Betemit’s single and scored on Mike Aviles’ grounder. After a single by Brayan Pena, Getz lined an RBI single to left, Gordon reached on catcher’s interference and Melky Cabrera hit a two-run single to center.
Reimold hit an 0-1 changeup off Jeff Francis in the second for his second homer of the year. The shot ended Francis’ scoreless streak at 16 innings.
A four-run third put the Orioles ahead. Andino and Jones singled, Mark Reynolds hit a two-out RBI single and Reimold launched an 0-2 pitch into the left-field stands for a three-run home run and the first multiple-homer game of his career.
Since being recalled from Triple-A on May 20, Reimold is 6 for 11 with three home runs.
Consecutive two-out doubles by Getz and Gordon tied the score in the fourth, and it remained that way until the game went to extra innings.
Chris Getz had three hits for Royals.
Francis worked six innings, allowing five runs on nine hits. Guthrie yielded five runs — four earned — on nine hits in seven innings.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)