In a low scoring game, one pitch can end up being the difference. Unfortunately, it turned out that Yordano Ventura made that one mistake, as the Royals fell to the Baltimore Orioles 2-1.
Ventura ran into trouble early on, allowing back to back base hits to Nick Markakis and Manny Machado to open the game. However, Ventura fought back, getting a double play and striking out Chris Davis to end the threat. From that point, Ventura settled in. He needed to, as Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen was making quick work of the Royals lineup.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the fourth. Following a leadoff walk to Davis, Nelson Cruz drilled a pitch right over the heart of the plate to deep right center, giving the Orioles a 2-0 lead. Ventura settled in from that point, retiring ten batters in a row, but the damage had already been done.
The Royals had their chance in the bottom of the inning. The Royals loaded the bases with one out on three singles, bringing up Danny Valencia to face his old team. Valencia drilled the 0-1 pitch deep to left, but it remained in the park for a sacrifice fly, scoring Eric Hosmer and moving Salvador Perez to third. Chen managed to get Johnny Giavotella to fly out to right to end the threat, but the Royals were able to cut the lead to 2-1.
Kansas City appeared as though they would get to Chen in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, the Royals put runners on first and second, ending the night for Chen and bringing in Darren O’Day. O’Day was terrific in his outing, as the sidearmer set down all five batters he faced, stifling the threat.
The Orioles had a chance of their own in the top of the seventh. With one out, J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty singled, ending Yordano Ventura’s night. Tim Collins came in, striking out David Lough to get the Royals within an out of escaping the jam. On a 2-2 pitch, Markakis grounded a single to shallow left. Hardy attempted to score, and the Orioles learned what many teams have already discovered – do not run on Alex Gordon. Gordon cut Hardy down at the plate with ease, keeping the Royals within a run.
Unfortunately, the Royals were unable to mount a rally against the Orioles bullpen, as they were unable to get a baserunner against Baltimore’s relievers. Zack Britton came on and pitched a perfect ninth, nailing down his first career save and sending the Royals to a 2-1 loss.
Yordano Ventura certainly deserved a better outcome, taking the loss as he gave up two earned runs on seven hits and a walk, striking out nine in his 6.1 innings of work. Gordon was 2-4 in the loss.