KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ryan O’Hearn homered among his three hits and drove in four runs, Whit Merrifield scored three runs and the Kansas City Royals beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-2 Friday night in a matchup of the two teams with the worst records in the majors.
Hunter Dozier and Cam Gallagher also went deep to help the Royals win for the fifth time in six games on their current homestand.
Brad Keller gave up a home run to the first batter of the game — Cedric Mullins — but quickly settled in to pitch eight strong innings, Keller (7-5) gave up two runs and four hits with two walks and four strikeouts to improve to 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA in his last four starts.
With the scored tied 1-1 in the fourth, Andrew Cashner (4-13) gave up a sacrifice fly to Merrifield after loading the bases on two walks and a single. Dozier led off the fifth inning with a 423-foot home run to left field to make it 3-1.
The Orioles pulled within a run in the sixth when Mullins led off with a double just beyond the reach of Dozier at third, advanced to third on a fly ball and scored on Trey Mancini’s sacrifice fly to the wall in right.
The Royals answered in the bottom of the inning as Gallagher hit his first home run of the season, ending Cashner’s night.
Cashner, who has given up a career-high 21 homers, allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out one.
O’Hearn added a two-run single off Yefry Ramirez later in the sixth to push Kansas City’s lead to 6-2. Dozier’s RBI single in the eighth drove in Merrifield for his third run scored of the game, and O’Hearn added a two-run homer off Ryan Meisinger later in the inning to cap the scoring.
Mullins put Baltimore up 1-0 when he knocked Keller’s second pitch of the game 412 feet into the fountains in right-center.
The Royals tied it in the bottom of the first as Merrifield scored on Dozier’s double-play grounder.
Orioles: OF Joey Rickard was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. … RHP Jhan Marinez was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list (right hamstring strain). He cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Norfolk. … OF Craig Gentry was designated for assignment.
Royals: C Drew Butera was traded to the Colorado Rockies for LHP Jerry Vasto, who was assigned to Triple-A Omaha. Butera’s roster spot was taken by C Gallagher, who was recalled from Omaha. … OF Brian Goodwin was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list. He took the roster spot of 1B Lucas Duda, who was traded to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.
Orioles: OF Mullins, who missed Wednesday’s game with a hip injury, was back in the lineup in the leadoff spot. “I’m feeling good,” he said prior to Friday’s game. “I’m excited to get back out. I’ve been with the trainers; we’ve had some intense treatment going on, but I feel really good.”
Royals: C Salvador Perez was held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons with a mild strain of his left thumb. Perez, who missed Wednesday’s game against Detroit, hurt the thumb on Tuesday when he lost his grip on the bat during a swing against the Tigers. Manager Ned Yost said Perez could have caught Friday, but swinging would be difficult. Perez was replaced in the lineup by Gallagher.
Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy (7-13, 5.37 ERA) will face another Royals rookie pitcher as RHP Heath Fillmyer (2-1, 4.21) takes the mound for Kansas City. Fillmyer will make his first career start against the Orioles. Bundy is 1-1 with a 5.87 ERA all-time against Kansas City, including one start this year May 8 in Baltimore, in which he gave up seven earned runs without recording an out.
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