KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two mistakes ruined Wei-Yin Chen’s chance of a third straight win since coming off the disabled list.
Chen yielded two home runs to Eric Hosmer, and the Kansas City Royals rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. Alcides Escobar doubled home the winning run with one out in the ninth inning.
Hosmer hit a solo homer on a full-count pitch in the first and his two-run homer in the eighth tied the score at 3 and finished Chen’s night with a no-decision.
“He’s definitely a really good hitter,” Chen said through an interpreter. “I don’t think I made a mistake. I attacked the strike zone. He just swung the bat really well tonight.
“The 3-2 fastball was in a really good location. On the second home run, I think the location was OK, but I can do better.”
While Chen might not have thought Hosmer’s home runs were on mistakes, Orioles manager Buck Showalter believed they were.
“He just made a couple of mistakes and the ball ran back over the plate,” Showalter said. “They were very similar pitches. He was really good. He threw the ball really well.
“For us not to score much and still have the lead, that’s a tribute to (Royals starter Ervin) Santana and Chen, both. I thought Wei-Yin pitched as well as Santana did, or better.”
Chen, who went on the disabled list May 13 with a right oblique strain before returning July 10 and winning two starts, departed after Hosmer’s second home run with Lorenzo Cain aboard with one out in the eighth. He allowed three runs on seven hits in 7 1-3 innings, while walking none and striking out three.
“The key for me was establishing the first-pitch strike,” Chen said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t win tonight. We played really well. This is how the Orioles play. I’m not satisfied because I can do better.”
David Lough singled and scored the game-ending run when Escobar doubled off the fence in left center with one out in the ninth off Darren O’Day (5-1).
“These are major league hitters, the best hitters in the world,” O’Day said. “You can’t miss your spots. If you miss your spots, they’re going to hit it a long way.”
Luke Hochevar (3-1) picked up the victory after working a scoreless ninth.
“I thought we were going to settle in for a nice extra-inning game,” said O’Day, who lost for the first time since Aug. 17 at Detroit. “My run happened in two pitches. It never felt like we were out of the game.”
Chen retired the next 12 hitters after Hosmer’s first home run until Escobar’s single in the fifth.
A bevy of scouts were in attendance to watch Santana. He can be a free agent after this season and it has been reported he would be dealt before the July 31 trading deadline without a player having to clear waivers.
Santana gave up three runs, only one earned, on seven hits in eight innings to lower his ERA to 3.06, which ranks eighth in the American League.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of opportunities against Santana,” Showalter said. “He’s basically a two-pitch pitcher. People know what’s coming but his stuff is so good they can’t hit it.”
Matt Wieters homered in the fourth off Santana with two outs after Adam Jones reached on an error by first baseman Hosmer.
The Orioles added a run in the eighth to take a 3-1 lead. Brian Roberts and Nate McLouth led off with singles. After Manny Machado bunted them over, Santana walked Nick Markakis intentionally to load the bases. Roberts scored on Jones’ fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop.
Notes: LF Alex Gordon, a first-time All-Star Game selection this year, was not in the Royals’ lineup. He is hitting .201 with only four extra-base hits in his past 41 games. … Utility player Elliot Johnson made his first outfield start of the season. … The Orioles optioned DH-3B Danny Valencia, who was 0 for 22 since June 17, to Triple-A Norfolk to make roster space for RHP Francisco Rodriguez, who was acquired in a trade Tuesday with Milwaukee. … Cain batted leadoff for only the fourth time this season. … The Orioles signed Cuban OF Dariel Alvarez, 24, to a minor league contract. He will report to the Orioles’ complex in Sarasota, Fla., before being assigned to Class-A Frederick. After defecting in 2012 to Mexico, Alvarez hit .317 for Tuxpan in the Mexican League.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)