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KC@BAL: Perez lifts a solo shot to the opposite field

BALTIMORE -- Man, oh, Manny Machado. Baltimore's raw rookie third baseman won't soon forget the first two home runs of his Major League career. The Royals, on the other hand, would just as soon forget them.

Machado, in just his second big league game, twice went deep for the Orioles, driving in four runs in their 7-1 victory over the Royals on Friday night to the delight of 17,277 welcoming fans at Camden Yards.

"It was the best feeling ever," Machado said. "The crowd here loves me and for them to support me like that, after my first home run. It just felt great."

The homers were two of the three against Kansas City starter Luke Hochevar, as the Royals' three-game winning spree came to an end.

Machado debuted with a triple and a single in the Orioles' 8-2 loss to the Royals on Thursday night. He's been a busy young man.

"In these last two games, he's played really well," Hochevar said. "He's hit mistakes, he's hit good pitches. He's having some really good at-bats. He plays good defense and he's obviously swinging it well right now. I made mistakes, but you've still got to hit it."

The Miami-born Machado turned 20 just 35 days ago, making him the youngest Orioles player to hit a home run since ... Cal Ripken Jr. maybe? No, it was pitcher Jim Palmer, who connected when he was just 19 against the Yankees on May 16, 1965.

More Baltimore history: Machado is the youngest Oriole ever to have a multihomer game. The previous youngest was Boog Powell, who was just 20 years plus 258 days when he walloped two on May 2, 1962, against the Twins.

There were four blasts in the game and the Royals started this mini version of Home Run Derby when Salvador Perez cleared the right-field scoreboard in the second inning. That came against the Orioles' other rookie star of the game, right-hander Miguel Gonzalez.

It was Perez's seventh home run this season and the Royals' only run of the game. Gonzalez pitched through eight innings, giving up six hits and one walk.

"He's real deceptive, the ball just kind of got on you. Had some late movement on his ball," said Billy Butler, who went 0-for-3 against Gonzalez. "It was the first time I faced the guy and the advantage is to the pitcher whenever you get him the first time. The bad news about that is we won't face that guy until next year if he's still up here. The next time I face that guy, I'll know exactly what he has."

Gonzalez, from Guadalajara, Mexico, has a 4-2 record and the Perez homer was the only run he's given up in his last 15 innings.

Just after Perez's smash, the Orioles got a two-run homer to right field from Omar Quintanilla in their half of the second. Machado led off the fifth with his first homer. He blasted a three-run shot to knock out Hochevar in the sixth. Both drives settled in the left-field seats and were caught by the same fan.

Hochevar owned up to poorly executed pitches in all three instances.

"That's what it falls on," Hochevar said. "Three mistakes that they didn't miss. Hitters usually don't miss mistakes at this level."

Hochevar tried a variety of pitches. He threw a 3-1 fastball to Quintanilla, a 3-2 slider to Machado and then a 1-2 curveball to Machado. All left Camden Yards.

"Three unexecuted pitches and that's what cost me," Hochevar said. "That's all on me. I've got to execute better in big situations."

The bottom of the Orioles' batting order carried them. Ex-Royal Wilson Betemit, Nate McLouth, Machado and Quintanilla combined for eight hits, six runs and all seven RBIs.

Machado arrived on Thursday from Double-A Bowie, playing third base in his first two games even though he's projected to be the Orioles' shortstop of the future.

"He's going to be a nice young hitter," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "You can classify those pitches as mistakes, but we made other mistakes today that were popped up or fouled back. So he took advantage of it and that's the mark of a nice young hitter."

After his second home run, the nice young hitter was called out of the Orioles dugout by the crowd to make a curtain call.

"I've dreamed about that my whole life, about going out there and getting that curtain call and second game in the big leagues I get it," Machado said. "It was great."

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