KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mike Moustakas came through with a big homer and thought of his late mother, just like he does every time he goes deep.
Moustakas homered and drove in four runs to help the Kansas City Royals rally from five runs down to beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-8 Sunday.
“A day like today makes me miss my mom even more,” Moustakas said of his mother Connie, who passed way on Aug. 9, 2015. “Mother’s Day is special, but I miss my mom every day. It doesn’t take a day like today to miss her.
“Anytime I hit a home run, I think about my mom and always point up to her. In order to do that, is a pretty cool feeling. Today was no different, just a tie game and thinking about my mom pretty much all the time, so nothing really changes.”
Jorge Soler and Drew Butera also homered for the Royals. Soler’s 464-foot shot to center leading off the seventh was the longest by a Kansas City player this season.
The Royals have won four straight, matching a season high, and six of seven since moving Alcides Escobar to the leadoff spot.
Moustakas homered off Kevin Gausman with Butera and Escobar aboard in a five-run fourth when the Royals sent 11 men to the plate. Gausman was pulled after retiring only 10 of the 21 batters he faced, allowing five runs and nine hits with two walks.
“It’s frustrating,” Gausman said. “I think they started eliminating my curveball early in the game, when I get in those situations where I have to throw a strike, the hitters pretty much have a good idea what they’re going to get. And that’s the biggest thing. They didn’t really miss any pitches that were in the strike zone and even some pitches that were out of the strike zone, they went out there and got it.”
The Royals scored two runs, one unearned, in the fifth, which included Alex Gordon scoring from second on Manny Machado’s throwing error after Escobar’s bunt.
The Orioles jumped on Royals starter Chris Young for five runs in 3 2/3 innings. Young gave up home run to Chris Davis to leadoff the second and a two-run shot in a four-run fourth to Caleb Joseph to finish his day. Ryan Flaherty contributed a two-run double in the fourth.
“The ones that really hurt were the Flaherty and the Joseph, back-to-back,” Young said. “Sliders I didn’t execute. If I make a good pitch to Flaherty, I’d like to think I’d get an out there and keep me at 1-nothing at that point and this win is a lot easier. I didn’t execute and it cost us.”
In two starts this season and 13 starts last year, Young is 1-8 with an 8.74 ERA, allowing 55 runs on 80 hits, including 29 home runs, in 56 2/3 innings.
Davis reached base five times on his homer, RBI single and three walks.
Matt Strahm (1-2), the second of seven Royals pitchers, picked up the victory. Kelvin Herrera, pitching in three consecutive days, finished up for his eighth save in nine chances. After Joseph’s RBI double in the ninth, Herrera struck out Seth Smith and got Jonathan Schoop on a fly ball to strand runners at second and third to end the game.
Richard Bleier (0-1) took the loss as the Baltimore bullpen gave up four runs.
“For the most part our guys have done a tremendous job of holding it there and kind of stopping the bleeding,” Joseph said. “We just weren’t able to bandage it up today.”
The nine runs and 14 hits were season-highs for the Royals.
SORIA’S AMAZING CATCH
Joakim Soria came sprinting off the mound to catch Mark Trumbo’s foul pop up that catcher Butera lost in the sun. “He keeps telling me he wants to catch pop ups and I told him, here’s your chance,” Butera said. “I gave it to him. I thought it was a foul ball straight back and I didn’t see it. The next thing I see Jack running by and said, ‘Thank God, he’s athletic.'”
ORIOLES RECALL BLEIR
The Orioles recalled Bleier from Triple-A Norfolk, where he had a 0.61 ERA, allowing one run in 14 2/3 innings with 15 strikeouts and no walks. Bleier had a 1.96 ERA in 23 relief appearances last season for the Yankees. The Orioles optioned LHP Vidal Nuno, who had a 6.75 ERA in nine bullpen outings, to the Tide.
Orioles: CF Adam Jones was not in the lineup for the first time this season. “He’s pretty banged up,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s got a sore hip. He’s diving, different stuff.” With a day off Monday, this will give Jones two days to rest.
Royals: LF Alex Gordon, who left the game Friday with right groin tightness and sat out Saturday, was back in the Royals’ lineup. Gordon went 0 for 4, dropping his average to .153.
Orioles: LHP Wade Miley will start the series opener Tuesday at Detroit after a day off Monday.
Royals: RHP Jason Hammel, who allowed a career-matching 13 hits in his previous start, draws the starting assignment Tuesday against the Yankees.