KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -The Royals are making a habit of hitting late home runs.
A night after Alex Gordon hit a game-ending, three-run homer, Billy Butler hit a two-run shot in the eighth inning Saturday to help lift the Kansas City Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
``Ones like that don't happen that often and we do it back-to-back nights,' Butler said. ``In their perspective, it's got to be tough because they played well up until the last couple of innings. They played well enough to win.'
After Jason Kendall singled in the eighth, Butler sent a drive over the Orioles bullpen in left field for his 12th homer. It came on a 2-2 pitch from David Hernandez (5-8).
``I wasn't sitting on it,' Butler said. ``He had been working me away. He threw me a fastball away the pitch before that I was able to foul it off. I definitely wasn't looking in. I was trying to hit the ball the other way and I just caught it out front.'
Butler's home run allowed Zack Greinke (7-10) to pick up the victory. Greinke held the Orioles to three runs on seven hits in eight innings. He struck out five and walked three. Greinke, the 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner, is 5-2 in his past seven starts. The Royals turned four double plays behind Greinke.
``I started off throwing a bunch of off-speed and was going to switch to more fastballs later in the game, but I just never really got to it,' Greinke said. ``My command wasn't that great, but I was able to keep them off-balance a little bit. You can get away with location a little more if you're not pumping the same velocity in there.'
Orioles starter Brad Bergesen, who is 0-7 with four no-decisions since a victory May 12 over Seattle, left with a 3-2 lead after seven innings. He allowed five hits.
Hernandez, however, failed to hold the lead.
``I just outthought myself,' Hernandez said of the home run pitch. ``For some reason, I thought I had to come inside and I didn't get it far enough in. If I'm going to come in right there, I've got to knock him down or hit him, one of the two, because I can't leave the ball middle in right there, because that's exactly what he (Butler) does with it.'
It was exactly a year ago, Butler hit a line drive that struck Bergesen in the left shin, causing a deep contusion that ended his season.
``Last year, it was a little more painful than tonight for me personally,' Bergesen said. ``But, I've tried to get that out of the back of my mind. You still have those thoughts when he comes up to bat and you see those big old swings coming right at you.' Said Butler: ``I'm glad to see him out healthy out there. I'm trying to hit the ball hard every time, but I'm not trying to hurt anybody.'
The Orioles scored all their runs in the sixth. Julio Lugo and Brian Roberts opened the inning with singles. Nick Markakis doubled both runners home. With two outs, Adam Jones singled home Markakis.
``Zack had the little one hiccup where he gave up the three runs, but outside of that he was pretty darn good,' Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Mitch Maier drove in the first two Kansas City runs. Maier led off the third with a home run, his fourth. His single in the seventh scored Gordon.
Joakim Soria gave up a single in the ninth but finished for his 28th save in 30 opportunities.
``Both games, last night and tonight, they're hard to digest,' Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel said ``We end up losing both games the same way - on the long ball.'
NOTES: The Royals announced before the game they extended the contract of Yost for two years, through the 2012 season. The Royals are 32-37 since Yost replaced manager Trey Hillman as manager on May 14. ... Mike Aviles made his first start of the season at third base. He had started 54 games at second base and seven at shortstop. ... The Royals were 10-15 in July, while the Orioles went 8-19.
The Associated Press News Service
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