BALTIMORE (TNS) — The Royals added outfielder Melky Cabrera to the lineup on Monday, inserting the deadline acquisition into the third spot in the batting order. In a 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, the new-look offense went dormant.
On a Monday night at Camden Yards, the Royals transformed Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez, a sagging veteran, into an ace. The result was a loss on the first night of a three-game series.
The Orioles’ Craig Gentry drilled a two-out, walk-off single to center against Royals reliever Joakim Soria in the bottom of the ninth. The inning began with singles by Caleb Joseph and Ruben Tejada.
Riding a torrid July wave, and energized by the acquisition of Cabrera on Sunday, the Royals finally had a listless night. They let the trade deadline pass in the afternoon, content after making one deal for pitching depth and another for the bat of Cabrera. They hit a wall against the Orioles, scratching out just one run on five hits.
Royals starter Danny Duffy surrendered one run in seven innings, dropping his ERA to 3.42. For most of the night, he dueled with an unlikely partner, matching scoreless innings with Baltimore’s Jimenez, who entered with an ERA a shade under a touchdown. By the end, Duffy had departed after 106 pitches, giving way to reliever Peter Moylan in the eighth. The bullpen held the score in place until the ninth.
The Royals built a 1-0 lead in the first. It would not hold. For four innings, the Orioles stepped in the box against Duffy and tested the outer reaches of Camden Yards. Manny Machado roped a double to left field in the first before Duffy maneuvered out of the inning.
One inning later, Baltimore’s Chris Davis sent a drive to deep left-center with a man on base. Center fielder Lorenzo Cain galloped back toward the wall and leaped to make the play. He hauled in the ball near the top of the wall, likely saving a two-run homer. Duffy stranded another run and evaded more trouble in the third when Adam Jones flied out to the wall in right-center.
Duffy finally yielded a run in the fifth, allowing a two-out double to Machado and an RBI single by Jonathan Schoop, a pest in the middle of the Orioles lineup. On an 0-2 count, Duffy attempted to bury a change-up away. Schoop reached down and poked the offering into center field, scoring Machado from second base.
The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Eric Hosmer scored Lorenzo Cain with a double to left field. Cain had moved to the No. 2 spot in the order following the acquisition of Cabrera and roped a one-out double against Jimenez.
From there, the offense was handcuffed by Jimenez, a 33-year-old with a 6.93 ERA and a recent track record of handling the Royals.
Last June, Jimenez entered a start here with a 6.59 ERA. He exited having allowed one run in five innings in a 9-1 victory — a game most famous for a brawl incited by Machado and Royals starter Yordano Ventura.
The teams resume their three-game series Tuesday night, with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m.