BALTIMORE (AP) — Manny Machado might want to brush up on his knowledge of Baltimore Orioles history, because the rookie continues to put his name alongside several of team’s finest players in the franchise record book.
Machado hit his third homer in four major league games, Nick Markakis also connected, and Baltimore got four hitless innings from its bullpen in a 5-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
Mark Reynolds drove in the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning for the Orioles, who earned a split of the four-game series.
Machado hit a two-run homer in the second off former Baltimore pitcher Bruce Chen (8-10). The 20-year-old tripled in his debut Thursday night, homered twice in his second game and doubled in a run Saturday night.
On Friday night, Machado became the youngest Oriole to have a multihomer game, breaking the mark set previously by Boog Powell. With his drive on Sunday, Machado joined Frank Robinson, Ray Knight and Lee May as the only players to get an extra-base hit in each of their first four games with the Orioles.
“That’s crazy. That’s the first time I heard it,” Machado said.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Machado has “put some good swings on some good pitches and they’ve carried over the fence.
“I’d put myself in his shoes, I’m sure he’s having a blast. But he doesn’t want to do anything to upset the apple cart toward the other team. He’s been very respectful of the competition, and that’s something that we’ve tried to do all year.”
Mike Moustakas homered for the Royals, who went 4-3 on a road swing against the White Sox and Orioles. Kansas City has 15 home runs over its last eight games.
But the Royals had no answer for Machado, who went 6 for 16 with six extra-base hits and seven RBIs in the four games.
“I like him. I was impressed,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “The scouting reports that we got said he had a couple of holes in his swing. We couldn’t find them. He hurt us. He won two games for them against us with homers. He hit the ball to center field. He hits the ball to left field.”
Chen said, “He’s going to be a good player for a long time. We better get used to making good pitches to him.”
Baltimore went up 4-3 in the sixth. After Chen issued two straight walks, Reynolds greeted Louis Coleman with an RBI single to left. The Orioles added an unearned run in the eighth.
Luis Ayala (4-3) worked the sixth, and Troy Patton and Pedro Strop each got three outs before Jim Johnson finished for his 34th save in 37 opportunities.
“We’ve had a couple games where we had to use a lot of people,” Showalter said. “But we felt at the time we could keep it close and we could match up out of the bullpen the last four innings.”
Orioles starter Tommy Hunter gave up three runs and eight hits in five innings. The right-hander has yielded at least one home run in 10 straight starts, and the two walks were Hunter’s most in a game since April 24.
After stranding runners at the corners in the first inning, the Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the second. Reynolds led off with a walk before Machado hit a drive to center that umpires initially ruled bounced off the top of the wall. After a quick replay review, Machado broke into his home-run trot from second base.
Moustakas ended an 0-for-10 drought with a liner off the foul pole in right field leading off the fourth, and Brayan Pena added a sacrifice fly to tie it at 2.
The Royals got a run in the fifth when Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar singled ahead of a double-play grounder by Moustakas. In the bottom half, Markakis knotted the score at 3 and ended Chen’s run of 11 straight outs with a drive to right on a 3-2 pitch.
NOTES: Baltimore’s Adam Jones started at DH for the first time in his career. Nate McLouth took over in CF and made an outstanding diving catch to end the seventh inning. KC’s Billy Butler went 2 for 3 and was 6 for 16 with 2 HRs in the series. Orioles RHP Jason Hammel experienced no pain in his surgically repaired right knee a day after throwing off the front of the mound for the first time since the procedure. He will throw off the mound Monday. Both teams have Monday off. Markakis is 8 for 15 lifetime against Chen. KC’s run of eight straight games with a home run ties a season high.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)