Written by Chris Slade
Tonight's pitchers duel featured Bud Norris and Danny Duffy on the mound. The Royals scored an early run on Norris in the 1st when Oriole nemesis Billy Butler lined an RBI single. That was it for scoring on the night as this game was wrapped up by 9:45. Duffy, a former Top 50 prospect, was spectacular for the Royals, taking a perfect game into the 7th before Adam Jones broke it up with a two-out single. Norris tossed a gem as well but was saddled with the tough luck loss after Royals closer Greg Holland worked out of a jam in the 9th to preserve the Royals 1-0 victory.
Bud Norris got himself into early trouble in the first, giving up a leadoff single and stolen base to Norichika Aoki, who then scored on Butler's single. However, from then on, he shut down the Royals lineup, allowing just two hits in innings 2-through-7. Norris had great command of the lower half of the zone and induced many weak groundballs and flyouts on his 92-95 MPH heater and mid-80's slider. He only struck out one batter, which isn't surprising as the Royals have the lowest team strikeout percentage in the majors. He did an excellent job of keeping mistake pitches out of the middle of the strike zone and was able to work one out into the 8th inning before being removed for lefty specialist Brian Matusz.
Final Line: 7.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, Loss
Another great outing from an Oriole starter kept the bullpen work to a minimum tonight. Brian Matusz faced one batter, retiring Eric Hosmer on a groundout. Tommy Hunter then entered with two outs and induced a Billy Butler groundout to shortstop.
Just three hits all night on offense: singles by Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and Nelson Cruz.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
Don't look now, but Manny Machado already has four errors. A sharp hit ball by Norichika Aoki got the best of him as it snuck by his glove, caroming off his cleat to JJ Hardy at shortstop.
JJ Hardy made a nice heads up play in the 2nd, fielding a groundball and then freezing up Lorenzo Cain who attempted to move to third on the play. Machado tagged him out in the rundown.
Key Moments In The Game
The Orioles were able to put runners on the corners with one out in the 9th versus Greg Holland. However, Holland was able to come up with crucial strikeouts of Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz (following a walk to Davis), to preserve the win.
Other Notes/ Musings
Figures Adam Jones broke up the no hitter considering he led the MLB with a .469 average versus left handed pitching entering the game.
Royals manager Ned Yost got tossed in the 9th for arguing a clear strike three in the dirt on Jones that the ump ruled a foul tip. The at bat ended in a strikeout anyway so it didn't affect the outcome of the game.
Orioles have scored just 15 runs in the last 7 games. Disappointing, considering how well the starters have been throwing recently. O's team ERA of 3.16 is third in the AL for the month of May.
The good news is the O's are still up 2-1 and can go for the series win tomorrow. The bad news is they will attempt to do so with Royals ace James Shields on the mound. Ubaldo Jimenez will oppose him.
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