BALTIMORE (AP) — The game began with their Gold Glove center fielder dropping a fly ball.
At that point, the Baltimore Orioles might have suspected it was going to be a long afternoon.
They would have been right.
Adam Jones’ miscue was the first of several for the Orioles in a 9-3 loss to Kansas City on Sunday.
Omar Infante tied a career high with six RBIs for the Royals, who went ahead in the first inning and remained in control behind right-hander James Shields.
Shields (3-2) pitched seven innings of three-hit ball to improve to 10-7 lifetime against the Orioles, including 7-2 at Camden Yards. He struck out six and walked two.
“He was able to get the lead,” Jones said. “Shields is Shields. He’s a gamer. They call him `Big Game Shields’ for a reason. He threw all his pitches for strikes. If you have command of all three pitches at any given time, you’re going to be pretty much successful.”
The Orioles got a hint of what kind of day it was going to be when Nori Aoki, leading off the first, hit a fly that popped out Jones’ glove for a three-base error. Infante followed with a grounder to shortstop that put the Royals ahead for good.
“Missed it,” Jones acknowledged.
It wasn’t the Orioles’ only mistake.
“We made a couple of good decisions with pitchouts (but) we weren’t able to execute that,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Those are two free outs. Then obviously, Adam’s one of the best center fielders in the game. So I’m not going to lament that at all. He’s been a rock for us out there. You spot them, give them those type of things that they don’t earn, with Shields on the mound, that’s not a good combination.”
Baltimore fell to 0-7 in games it makes an error. The Orioles are 12-5 without committing an error.
Nelson Cruz hit his seventh homer for the Orioles, who finished with five hits. Before the game, Baltimore put slugger Chris Davis on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain.
Miguel Gonzalez (1-2) gave up four runs, three earned, and six hits in six innings.
“Deserved a better fate,” Showalter said.
Infante hit a run-scoring groundout in the first inning, a sacrifice fly in the third, a two-run double in the fifth and a two-run shot in the seventh. He entered with one home run and 11 RBIs in 21 games.
“It was a great day for me,” Infante said. “I’m happy because that has not happened too many times for a player. It was a great day for the team. I’ve been working hard in the cage. The last couple of days I hit a lot of fly balls. I don’t like that; I want to drive the ball.”
The last time Infante had six RBIs was last Sept. 13 with the Tigers against Kansas City. The starter for the Royals that day was …. James Shields.
“I’m glad he’s on my team now,” Shields said.
After Jarrod Dyson singled and scored in the third, singles by Alcides Escobar and Aoki preceded Infante’s double in the fifth for a 4-0 lead.
Baltimore closed to 4-2 in the sixth when Jemile Weeks singled and Cruz homered to center, but Kansas City’s four-run seventh against reliever Evan Meek turned the game into a blowout. After Infante connected, Alex Gordon doubled in two runs for an 8-2 lead.
“The flood gates opened,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “That broke the game open at that point.”
Mike Moustakas doubled in a run off Ryan Webb in the ninth, and the Orioles scored in the bottom half on a wild pitch.
NOTES: Orioles LF David Lough made a fine diving catch in the eighth inning to rob Dyson of a hit. … Cruz has 25 RBIs this month. The club record for April is 31, by Miguel Tejada in 2005. … Kansas City went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Baltimore was 0 for 2. … Dyson was 5 for 5 lifetime against Gonzalez before flying out in the fifth. … Baltimore’s Nick Markakis got his 1,400th career hit, a single in the ninth inning.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)