KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Yordano Ventura no longer wears his emotions on his sleeve, the young right-hander for the Kansas City Royals having grown up after his first couple of years in the big leagues.
If he still did, there’d have been a big grin plastered to his jersey Sunday.
Ventura settled down after a shaky first inning to allow three hits and run over seven, and the Royals pulled away to beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-1 in the rubber game of their three-game set.
“He’s matured,” said backup catcher Drew Butera, who had a pair of hits while giving Sal Perez the day off. “Now, he’s the same game. He’s understanding himself. He’s more relaxed.”
Eric Hosmer homered to push his AL-leading on-base streak to 26 games, and Alex Gordon also went deep for Kansas City. But it wasn’t until the Royals strung together a bunch of hits and scored four times in the seventh inning that they could begin to rest easy.
Mike Wright (1-2) allowed five runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings for Baltimore.
“I thought he pitched pretty well. Mike did hit part,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I loved the fact he walked nobody. That’s a quality start for us. We had four guys we weren’t going to use in the bullpen today, so we needed that from Mike. We just didn’t do much offensively.”
His final line gave no indicated that most of the sun-splashed afternoon amounted to a pitchers’ duel between two young right-handers who seemed to be in complete control.
Ventura got into a spot of trouble in the first, walking Manny Machado before giving up a weakly hit infield single and an RBI knock to Mark Trumbo. But he settled down quickly, retiring the next 11 batters he faced before Caleb Joseph’s single with one out in the fifth.
Ventura worked around some shoddy fielding to escape that inning, then induced four groundballs in working through two more spotless frames and turning it over to his bullpen.
“I have a lot of confidence right now,” Ventura said through a translator. “I’m executing pitches, I’m concentrating hard on working hard on and off the field.”
For a while, Wright looked just as stingy as his counterpart.
He left a pair of runners aboard in the second inning, then stranded a runner at third base by retiring Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain in the third. Wright didn’t allow a run until Gordon’s shot to left in the fourth, and that barely cleared the wall with the help of a stiff breeze.
“He hit it in the perfect spot on the perfect day,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Hosmer finally gave Kansas City the lead with his homer to right with two outs in the sixth, and things got away from Wright in the seventh. Christian Colon, Drew Butera, Moustakas and Cain each drove in a run to give the Royals a buffer over the AL East leaders.
“I felt I attacked them very well,” Wright said. “I didn’t fall behind in many counts. I tried to take it to them, just like they were trying to take it to me. Ultimately, they came out on top.”
STATS AND STREAKS
Machado was 0 for 3, ending his AL-best 16-game hitting streak. … Baltimore had four hits a day after a season-high 14. … Hosmer had a hit in 14 straight games. … Cain was in a 3-for-24 slump before his RBI single in the seventh. … The Orioles last won a series in Kansas City in May 2012.
The Orioles were still awaiting an MRI result Sunday on RHP Yovani Gallardo. He went on the DL on Saturday with right shoulder tendinitis. If the MRI confirms the diagnosis, manager Buck Showalter said Gallardo could receive an injection and rejoin the club in Tampa to begin rehab.
The Orioles open a three-game set in Tampa Bay on Monday night with RHP Kevin Gausman on the mound, while the Royals send RHP Ian Kennedy out to start a six-game road trip against the Angels.