BALTIMORE (AP) — Chris Tillman pitched effectively into the eighth inning to earn his seventh consecutive win, Ryan Flaherty drove in two runs and the Baltimore Orioles extended the Kansas City Royals’ losing streak to seven games with a 4-0 victory Wednesday night.
Tillman (8-1) allowed eight hits over 7 1/3 innings, matched his career high with nine strikeouts and walked none. The right-hander is unbeaten in 10 starts since April 14, 6-0 at home and tied for second in the AL in wins.
Brad Brach got the final five outs to earn his second save and help the Orioles complete their first three-game sweep of Kansas City since May 2011. Baltimore has won four straight and seven of eight.
The Orioles took control with a four-run fifth inning against Edinson Volquez (5-6). Flaherty had the key hit, a bases-loaded double that broke open a 0-0 game. Adam Jones followed with a sacrifice fly and Hyun Soo Kim capped the uprising with an RBI single.
That was enough support for Tillman, who’s enjoying an outstanding season after going 11-11 with a 4.99 ERA in 2015.
Salvador Perez had two hits for the Royals, who have been outscored 42-8 during a skid that’s dropped them from first place to third in the AL Central. The defending World Series champions have scored four runs over their last six games and been blanked twice.
The last time Kansas City lost seven straight was in August 2013.
Volquez was exceptionally sharp over the first four innings, retiring 12 of 13 batters and allowing just one hit. The trouble started after he got the first out in the fifth.
Two walks and a single preceded the key hit by Flaherty, who began the game batting .213.
There was no extension of the hostility created Tuesday night, when the teams emptied their dugouts in a fray that started when Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura hit Manny Machado with a pitch.
Royals manager Ned Yost insisted Wednesday that Ventura was merely trying to throw inside, and the pitch simply “got away” from him.
“He’s got a reputation that’s always going to haunt him here,” Yost said of the feisty Ventura. “So any time something happens, he’s going to be guilty right off the bat.”
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis was given the day off, his first of the season. Although Davis is in a 3-for-29 slump, manager Buck Showalter said the break was designed to allow some bumps and bruises to heal.
The Royals made an adjustment to their bench, calling up utility INF Christian Colon from Triple-A Omaha and optioning No. 3 C Tony Cruz to the same affiliate.
Royals: Yost said no one on the team was injured in the bench-clearing fray.
Orioles: RHP Yovani Gallardo (shoulder tendinitis) said he experienced “normal soreness, nothing crazy” after his second rehab start. If his bullpen session Thursday goes well, Gallardo could come off the DL and start Sunday in Toronto.
Royals: After taking Thursday off, KC opens a three-game series on the road against the White Sox. Ian Kennedy (4-4, 3.44 ERA) will seek his first win in six starts.
Orioles: Tyler Wilson (2-5, 4.39) starts in Toronto on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series against the defending AL East champs.