KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Miguel Gonzalez’s streak of eight straight quality starts came to end Thursday.
And major league home run leader Chris Davis struck out four times, stranding two runners.
It was that kind of night for the Orioles, who lost 7-1 to the Kansas City Royals to end a road trip with a 4-3 record, but with three straight defeats.
Gonzalez (8-4) lasted just 4 2-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season and did not have a quality start for the first time since May 31.
“It’s just a tough one,” Gonzalez said. “I had to battle and it didn’t work out.
“My adrenaline wasn’t there. I was high with my pitches the first couple of innings and I was behind in the count. I had good stuff but I was up with the fastball and the splittie was up and guys took advantage of that and scored early.
“I feel bad that I wasn’t able to go as long as I wanted. It’s heartbreaking. You never want to go home losing three in a row. We’re pretty confident in our pitching. We’ll shake it off and come back. We’re going to play tough no matter what.”
Gonzalez, who lost for only the second time since May 21, allowed a season-high six runs and eight hits, one walk and a hit batter, while striking out none.
“He had some tough breaks, but you have to turn the page,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He just didn’t seem to get into his normal rhythm.”
Showalter was not overly concerned about Davis’ strikeouts.
“He came in with a good hitter’s attitude and he’ll leave here with it,” Showalter said. “It’s not something I worry about. Chris has struck out before and will again. It’s not something I feel good about, but they pitched us pretty good.”
Jeremy Guthrie pitched six solid innings and Billy Butler homered for the Royals.
The Royals, who limped into the All-Star break with five consecutive defeats, went 5-2 on the homestand against the Orioles and AL Central Division-leading Detroit Tigers.
Guthrie (10-7), who won 47 games in five seasons with the Orioles, allowed six hits over six innings. He gave up one run, while striking out five and walking one.
“He throws strikes and you can’t ask for anything more out of your pitcher,” said Nick Markakis, who went 1-for-4 off Guthrie. “He throws strikes and gets outs.”
Guthrie went 3-1 in July and his 10 victories are one shy of his season high, set in 2010 with the Orioles.
The Royals had 10 hits, including two each by rookie David Lough and Jarrod Dyson. Lough drove in a pair of runs with singles in the first and fifth innings. Alex Gordon also had two RBIs with a triple in the fifth and a sacrifice fly in the second.
Butler homered, his ninth of the season, in the seventh inning off Francisco Rodriguez, who was making his Orioles’ debut after being acquired in a trade Tuesday with Milwaukee.
The Royals scored three runs in the first two innings, all with two out. Salvador Perez and Lough contributed RBI singles in the first. Gordon’s fly to center in the second scored Chris Getz, who had doubled and moved to third on Dyson’s bunt single.
The Royals’ three-run fifth included Dyson scoring on Gordon’s triple, while Eric Hosmer and Lough added RBI singles.
Henry Urrutia tripled with two out in the fifth and scored on Brian Roberts’ double for the Orioles’ run.
Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters singled in his first two at-bats for his fifth consecutive multi-hit game and extended his hitting streak to seven games.
Note: The Royals went 26-22 with Hall of Famer George Brett as the interim hitting coach, a position he stepped down from Thursday. “I just thought it was time for me to move on,” Brett said. “It was time for me to sit in the suite again with Dayton (Moore, general manager), instead of travel around the country.” Pedro Grifol, who had been Brett’s assistance, was promoted to the hitting coach. … RHP Chris Tillman, who starts Friday against Boston, is trying to become the first Oriole to win 13 games in a season since Erik Bedard won 13 in 2007. … Orioles 3B Manny Machado leads the majors with 39 doubles, but none since July 6.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)