Birds' Eye View: What we saw in Orioles' 1st shutout, 5-0 over Royals - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Birds’ Eye View: What we saw in Orioles’ 1st shutout, 5-0 over Royals

Photo Credit: William Purnell: USA TODAY Sports

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What happened? The Orioles got an excellent start from Cole Irvin and back-to-back home runs from Colton Cowser and Jordan Westburg to win their second straight game against the Kansas City Royals, 5-0 at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday.

The Orioles are 14-7 and continue to trail the New York Yankees by a half-game in the American League East.

Cowser caught the final out in closer Craig Kimbrel’s 422nd career save, which tied him with Billy Wagner for seventh place on the all-time saves list, on Saturday night and inadvertently flipped it into the left-field fountain, where he was able to retrieve the ball. In the third inning Sunday, he hit a pitch from Royals starter Seth Lugo (3-1) into the fountain in right field for his fifth home run.

Two pitches later, Westburg hit his fifth home run.

Ryan Mountcastle’s RBI double, Westburg’s bases-loaded walk and Ramón Urías’ pinch-hit single in the ninth drove in the other runs.

How good was Cole Irvin? Irvin delivered his best start as an Oriole, throwing 6 2/3 scoreless innings, the longest he’s pitched with the team. He allowed four hits, struck out two and walked two. Jacob Webb, Danny Coulombe and Dillon Tate combined to allow a hit and a walk while recording seven outs.

It was the first shutout of the season for the Orioles, and an important one for Irvin (1-1), who had a 6.75 earned-run average in his three previous starts.

How was the bullpen? The Orioles were able to rest Yennier Cano and Kimbrel, and it was nice to see Tate, who hasn’t pitched in many high-leverage situations, get a chance to pitch the ninth.

What was the key play? The consecutive home runs put the Orioles on their way.

Misplays? Little went wrong, but Westburg was stranded on third after leading off the fifth with a triple.

Mountcastle was forced at second on a ball Cedric Mullins hit to center field. Mullins was charged with a forceout instead of getting credit for a single. He was called out trying to steal. After 14 successful attempts, it was the first time an Oriole was caught stealing this season.

What does it mean? The Orioles are methodically winning games. They’ve won five series and lost two, but if they continue on their current pace, they’ll win 108 games.

What the stat of the day? .033. That’s Jackson Holliday’s average after going 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s 1-for-30.

What’s with the schedule? The Orioles have concluded play with the Royals and will do so this week against the Los Angeles Angels before they play a single game against the Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, three of their four AL East rivals.

What did I miss? It was the first series of the season I didn’t see, and it’s always fun going to Kansas City. I missed the lamb ribs at Jack Stack, and enjoying baseball in one of America’s most underrated cities.

I can’t forget covering the 2014 ALCS at Kauffman Stadium when the Orioles were shockingly swept in four games.

Earlier this month, voters turned down a referendum that would have allowed the Royals to build a downtown stadium and the Chiefs to renovate Arrowhead Stadium, which is next door.

I can’t imagine baseball leaving Kansas City and hope they’re able to find a solution to build that downtown ballpark. Kauffman Stadium is a fine venue, but there’s nothing nearby.

What’s next? Albert Suárez (0-0, 0.00), who pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his first start for the Orioles, will face the the Angels’ Reid Detmers (3-0, 1.19) on Monday night at 9:38. It’s the first of three at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California. Detmers limited the Orioles to a run on two hits in five innings on March 31st in the third game of the season.

Call for questions: Each weekday, I’ll be answering at least one Orioles’ question. Please send yours to: [email protected]

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