Orioles' offense comes alive in victory
Hernandez, Jones drive in two runs apiece; Liz garners win
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' clubhouse decor got a new addition Tuesday night. Prior to the game, manager Dave Trembley was given a sign by a fan, which he then passed on to closer George Sherrill. The sign read: "Never a doubt, Georgie."
No outing may have been sweeter for Sherrill than Tuesday's, however, as the Orioles dropped the Royals, 7-5. The victory comes just two days after Sherrill blew his fourth and fifth saves of the season.
After the game, Trembley said it was Sherrill's return to his forte -- the fastball -- that helped him get back on track.
Maybe it was Trembley's pregame talk with Sherrill, one that went: "'George, when you come into the game and the game's on the line, we're not going to try to trick anybody. It's you and him. Throw your fastball.'"
Sherrill threw 11 pitches Tuesday, 10 of them for strikes, and almost all were fastballs. The final pitch of the game, however, was a slider.
"The three times he's got beat on home run balls, [the homers] have been on hanging [breaking balls]," Trembley said. "If you're going to get beat, get beat on your best stuff. Don't get beat on your second or third pitch."
"We wanted to go fastball in," Sherrill said. "But that's his swing. I'd been showing [Alex Gordon] a lot of fastballs, so it was time to go breaking ball."
The strategy worked, as Gordon was fooled into striking out to end the game.
The Orioles broke open a one-run lead with a four-run third inning against Royals starter Luke Hochevar. But unlike Monday, Baltimore did not allow Kansas City to chip away at its lead.
The Orioles allowed a run in the first inning for the fourth straight game when Gordon crushed starter Radhames Liz's second pitch over the right-field scoreboard and out onto Eutaw Street. But that was the only inning the Royals would lead.
Liz picked up his third win of the season and, despite giving up two solo home runs, he turned in a quality start for the Orioles.
"I thought Liz probably had the best command since he's been with us tonight," Trembley said. "I thought he showed his breaking pitch and his changeup early in the game, which was a real plus for him."
"I felt very good with all my pitches," Liz said. "All of them were working tonight. Every inning is not going to be perfect. I got in trouble in the fifth inning. I think the home run got on my mind a little bit. But after that, the pitching coach, [Rick Kranitz], talked to me and everything went good."
Liz pitched well enough for the win, going six innings and allowing three earned runs on seven hits and one walk with four strikeouts.
The right-hander was pulled after the sixth, giving way to Adam Loewen, who made his first Major League appearance since April 24. Loewen pitched two commanding innings, allowing just two hits and one walk with one strikeout. It was an important outing for the southpaw -- being his first appearance since coming off the disabled list Monday -- as well as for an overworked Orioles bullpen that features two relievers on the DL in Matt Albers and Jamie Walker.
"Loewen's Achilles' heel has been the base on balls, when he was here earlier, and not enough strike ones," Trembley said. "I thought tonight he showed the ability to command his pitches. He did a real nice job. He did show poise. You've got to give the guy credit, this is the first time he's doing this."
"I had the confidence I could put the ball where I need to, to get an out or a key ground ball," Loewen said. "That just in itself, that kind of confidence, is really big."
After Gordon's solo homer, the Orioles evened the score in the bottom half of the first on Aubrey Huff's RBI single. Baltimore's offense hit Hochevar hard in the third, sending the entire lineup, except Brian Roberts, to the plate in the inning and tagging Hochevar for four runs on three hits to give the Orioles a 6-1 lead.
Roberts added a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh to give the Orioles their seventh and final run of the game.
"We finally got the third out," Trembley said. "We got some big hits, we got some real big hits -- played very well in the field. We got pitching, timely hitting and defense. You get all three, you're going to win."
Amanda Comak is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.