Markakis' RBI single in 10th caps rally

Orioles 4, Royals 3

Scott homers twice as O's salvage split of eight-game homestand

May 18, 2010|By Dan Connolly | The Baltimore Sun

Trailing by three runs in the fifth inning against perhaps the best pitcher in the American League is not exactly the ideal formula for ending a losing streak, salvaging a homestand and reducing the temperature on a manager's hot seat.

But the Orioles aren't exactly engaged in conventional procedures these days.

They needed extra innings and an improbable comeback against reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke, but the Orioles survived Tuesday night with a 4-3, 10th-inning win over the Kansas City Royals on a Nick Markakis liner to the gap with the bases loaded.

The victory ended the Orioles' three-game losing streak and turned what would have been a devastating homestand into a mediocre 4-4 stint against other AL flotsam: the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians and Royals.

The Orioles (13-27) could have been 6-2 on the homestand, but closer Alfredo Simon blew a two-run lead in the ninth against the Indians on Saturday and the Orioles failed to score a run with the bases loaded in the ninth of a one-run game against the Royals on Monday.

"The game can get away from you in a hurry. It got away from us with a win [Saturday] that was just waiting for us to take and Simon gave it up," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "Then we had an opportunity to do it [Monday] night, and you just can't let it continue to go in that direction because you won't be able to catch up."

In the middle innings, the Orioles looked to be spiraling toward another painful loss in front of an announced crowd of 9,715.

Orioles veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood took a perfect game into the fifth and then, in a span of six hitters, allowed five hits and three runs and was staring at his fifth consecutive loss to start the season.

"I knew I wasn't going to give up any more runs, and I was able to do that," Millwood said. "Some balls found holes, and the balls that I did make mistakes [on], they hit. They had a good inning, but the good thing is we were able to hold them after that."

The Orioles had scored just 23 runs in Millwood's previous eight starts and it didn't appear to be any different Tuesday with Greinke on the mound.

But Luke Scott, who is hitting .455 with six homers in his past nine games, continued his mashing. He hit a solo homer off Greinke in the fifth and another in the seventh for his eighth multi-home run game of his career and first since last May.

"Everything is kind of calm and peaceful for me up at the plate," said Scott, who is now hitting .259 with nine homers this season. "There is no traffic in my mind, no confusion. No stress, pressure. I am just up there relaxing."

Scott had two of the Orioles' four hits against Greinke, who allowed just one walk and struck out six before leaving after the seventh with a 3-2 lead.

Corey Patterson homered against Kansas City reliever Blake Wood in the eighth to tie the game at 3 and hand Greinke his fourth no-decision this season.

"It's very difficult, it is," Scott said about having to rally against Greinke. "If I was them, I'd want to be in that situation. You are sitting pretty and they were. They were doing very well. But if you just keep playing the game hard things can happen."

Patterson's homer, his second since being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk last week, bailed out Millwood, who recorded his fifth quality start in nine attempts by allowing 10 hits and three runs in eight innings. He struck out seven and walked none in a no-decision that kept him winless as an Oriole.

"The only thing that would have been better for our finish is if we could have gotten a win for Millwood," Trembley said. "It doesn't show up in his won-loss [record], but it certainly is a win in my book, the way he pitched and what he showed tonight. And obviously we're really happy to come back and win the game, especially the way we did it and especially off one of the game's best pitchers."

After having to face Greinke, the Orioles scored their final run against reliever Bryan Bullington, a former No. 1 overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2002 who was making his Royals debut. It didn't go well.

After getting an out in the 10th, Bullington (0-1) allowed a single to Julio Lugo, walked Patterson and then was charged with an error when first base umpire Tim Timmons ruled that Bullington came off the bag on a grounder to first.

With the bases loaded, Markakis ripped a pitch into the left-center gap to score Lugo, give Simon (1-1) his first victory of 2010 and provide the Orioles with a good feeling on their flight to Texas for the start of a five-game road trip.

"It's a huge boost. We've struggled. We've lost a few games when we've given up the lead late in the game and it's taken a toll on us," Scott said. "It's been difficult. It feels good to kind of do the same thing to someone else and have the ball roll in our favor for once."

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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