KANSAS CITY—There was nothing positive about the Orioles’ performance on Friday night. They got just one hit in seven innings against a starting pitcher who had yet to win a game in five starts this season, and their own starter, Bruce Zimmermann, continued to allow extra-base hits.
The result was an 8-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals before an announced crowd of 17,650 at Kauffman Stadium.
Ramón Urias was a late scratch because of left side discomfort, which could mean it’s an oblique injury. The Orioles will reevaluate Urías on Saturday after he felt the discomfort during batting practice.
Zimmermann (2-5), who allowed one home run in his first six starts, allowed two home runs — a two-run home run to Salvador Perez in the first and a three-run homer to MJ Melendez in the fifth.
It was the fourth time Zimmermann allowed multiple home runs in his last six starts.
The seven runs allowed were a career high and the 10 hits equaled his career high.
“You’ve got to stay aggressive,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s learning to pitch up here, and he had a good first month, month-and-a-half. Now, he’s had a handful of rough starts and he’s got to bounce back and locate a little bit better. People watch your video, and people prepare for you, and you’ve got to make better pitches …”
The first six hits Zimmerman allowed were extra-base hits. Whit Merrifield and Andrew Benintendi doubled to start the first. With one out, Perez homered, his ninth, and Zimmermann was behind 3-0 after just four batters.
“The first inning … the ball was definitely a little bit up,” Zimmermann said. “I was feeling for my mechanics, more than I would like to.”
Bobby Witt Jr., who had his second straight multiple-hit game, tripled with one out in the third and scored on a double by Perez.
Melendez hit a three-run homer, his sixth, in the fifth to make it 7-0.
“I thought he got hurt again today with his offspeed stuff,” Hyde said. “It was a lot of elevated offspeed in the middle of the plate in the first and a bad slider to Melendez, just catching too much of the plate.”
Zimmermann hasn’t won in six starts. His last win came against the Royals on May 8th. He hasn’t been using his changeup as much recently.
“I know that teams, the scouting report is out that’s my go-to secondary pitch, so part of our attack plan was to go to the other offspeed pitches, the breaking balls a little bit more,” Zimmermann said. “Kind of reserve that offspeed for spots when it may be a little bit more effective, more so use it more strategically now that the teams know it’s going to be thrown a lot.”
Austin Voth replaced Zimmermann with two outs in the fifth. In his first appearance for the Orioles, he allowed Michael A. Taylor’s third home run to begin the sixth.
Heasley (1-3) totally baffled the Orioles (24-35), allowing just a single to center by Anthony Santander with two outs in the first. Trey Mancini was the only other Oriole to reach, on an error by third baseman Emmanuel Rivera in the fourth.
Heasley pitched a career-high seven innings, didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven.
“In the first inning, we hit a few balls hard,” Hyde said. “I thought it was going to be a good night for us offensively … I thought we took some good at-bats, the first inning [or] two, but then not much after that. I thought he had a good fastball and a good breaking ball coming in. We just didn’t take very many good at-bats off of him.”
The Orioles did load the bases in the top of the eighth against Taylor Clarke on a double by Adley Rutschman and two walks, but Joel Payamps retired Mancini on a forceout.
Santander homered to lead off the ninth against Albert Abreu to prevent the shutout.
Notes: Voth became the 45th player used by the Orioles this season. … Tyler Wells (2-4, 3.78) will face Daniel Lynch (2-5, 5.38) on Saturday at 4:10 p.m.
Minor league update: Heston Kjerstad was 1-for-4 with a single and RBI in his professional debut as Single-A Delmarva lost to Fayetteville, 7-1.
DL Hall allowed three runs, two unearned, in Triple-A Norfolk’s 7-0 loss to Nashville. Hall (1-2) gave up four hits in 4 2/3 innings, walked three and struck out eight. He threw 82 pitches. The Tides had just five hits.
Double-A Bowie was held to two hits in its 10-1 loss to Harrisburg. Leftfielder Cristopher Cespedes had one of the hits, his first home run.
Right ielder Davis Tavarez and shortstop Erison Placencia homered in High-A Aberdeen’s 4-3 win over Brooklyn. It was Tavarez’s second home run since his promotion to the IronBirds and Pelacencia’s first.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB