Orioles manager Brandon Hyde had numerous conversations with right-hander Jorge López about going deeper into games.
“We talked a lot about that fourth- and fifth-inning bugaboo,” Hyde said. “He’s had so many starts this year where he’s shown such great stuff through three and four innings and then hit a snag there in the middle part of the game.”
López was shaky again in the fifth — yielding three runs after he was given an 8-1 lead — but the Orioles managed a 8-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals Saturday night to end a five-game losing streak.
“It’s been happening since the beginning,” said López, who allowed four runs and seven hits with four strikeouts and one walk in 4 2/3 innings. “I can’t say I should do this, I should do that. At the end of the day I have to make three outs, I have to concentrate better. Sometimes, like we talk about, I would say bad luck. It wasn’t hard contact or anything like that.
“Things just didn’t go my way. It’s something, I have to keep working. They have a really good team. I know them. But it’s just a thing where I have to find a way, I have to find a way.”
López was reinstated from the bereavement list before the game. He disclosed his son is undergoing chemotherapy and needed a bone marrow transplant.
“He’s such a strong kid,” López said. “I feel I have to be there. I’m a strong part of his life. Hopefully, he can get a new life in the next couple months and just be a normal kid, you know. He loves baseball, he loves to come to the ballpark, come here and watch and that’s his big thing. He watches us every day playing. This is something, I have to be there no matter what.”
Entering the game, López had a 16.03 ERA in the fifth. He got into a jam again in that inning by allowing back-to-back singles to Ryan O’Hearn and Michael Taylor and a walk to Nick Lopez.
López allowed three more runs on a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly by Whit Merrifield and a run-scoring single by Salvador Perez that cut the margin to 8-4 and ended his night. López hasn’t completed the fifth inning in six of his last seven starts.
He pitched for the Royals from 2018 to 2020 and pitched for the first time as a visitor at Kauffman Stadium. He was also the first former Royals pitcher to start a game as a visitor in Kansas City since Jake Odorizzi on August 21, 2020, with Minnesota.
López managed to snap a streak of six straight losing starts but remained winless in his last seven appearances.
“I have to go back and watch the fifth inning,” Hyde said. “We need to figure this out. His stuff is too good. I don’t know if he got unaggressive there. [López’s] stuff is really good and he’s having a tough time in that fifth inning the third time through, and I don’t know if his mentality changed. I know our guys are working hard with him and he’s aware, obviously, and that’s why he was disappointed when he came out that inning.”
Paul Fry (3-3) ended the rally by getting Andrew Benintendi to pop out to third.
Dylan Tate and Tanner Scott and Tyler Wells each threw a scoreless inning to secure the win. Second baseman Pat Valaika made a diving catch and throw to prevent a run in the seventh.
Ramón Urias went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. It was his sixth multi-hit game in his last nine games. Ryan Mountcastle also had two RBIs. Cedric Mullins had two doubles and leads Major League Baseball with 110 hits. DJ Stewart had two hits, an RBI and scored two runs.
“It was nice the way we strung some hits together,” Hyde said. “I loved the way we ran the bases. That was our best baserunning game by far, going first to third multiple times, putting pressure on the defense, running the bases hard. It was nice to see us keep the line moving and taking competitive at-bat after competitive at-bat. Scoring those eight runs early, that was really nice.”
The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the second on a RBI single by Urias and a fielder’s choice by Domingo Leyba off Royals right-hander Brady Singer, who was the 18th overall pick in the 2018 draft out of the University of Florida.
The Orioles had six consecutive hits and scored five runs in the third, ending the night for Singer (3-7).
Mullins led off the third with a double, advanced on an infield single by Trey Mancini and scored on a single by Mountcastle. Stewart, Anthony Santander and Urias followed with RBI singles.
“I am trying to work as hard as I can and trying to take advantage of situations to help my team win,” Urias said through an interpreter.
Richard Lovelady replaced Singer and gave up a run-scoring single to Pedro Severino that boosted the lead to 7-0.
The Royals pulled to within 7-1 on a double by Carlos Santana off López.
Mancini led off the fourth with his first triple since June 12, 2019, and the 10th of his five-year career. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Mountcastle.
The Orioles, who were 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position, won in Kansas City for just the second time in 12 games since April 2016.