BALTIMORE (AP) — Jeremy Hellickson threw seven outstanding innings in his Orioles debut, Caleb Joseph homered and Baltimore beat the Kansas City Royals 6-0 Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep.
Playing in his second game with Baltimore, Tim Beckham doubled, tripled and drove in two runs.
The Orioles’ five-game winning streak is their longest since early May, and they now stand just 2 ½ games behind Kansas City for the second AL wild-card slot.
The Royals had won 10 of 11 before coming up flat at Camden Yards, scoring only three runs in 27 innings. They showed their frustration in the ninth inning, when Mike Moustakas was tossed after complaining about a third-strike call and manager Ned Yost was ejected for joining the argument.
Hellickson (1-0) was obtained Saturday from Philadelphia, the first of two significant trades by the Orioles to fortify the roster for a potential playoff run. The right-hander paid immediate returns, limiting Kansas City to five hits, issuing one walk and allowing only one runner to reach third base.
After going 6-5 with the Phillies, Hellickson turned in his best performance of the season to earn his second win in 12 starts since May 19.
He received offensive backing from Beckham, acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay on Monday just before the non-waiver trade deadline expired.
Mychal Givens worked a perfect eighth and Darren O’Day completed Baltimore’s seventh shutout.
Baltimore went up 3-0 in the second inning against Jason Vargas (13-5) when Beckham doubled in a run and Joseph followed with a two-out drive into the left-field seats.
After Hellickson retired the first two batters in the third, a sudden rain shower forced a 35-minute delay. When play resumed, Hellickson gave up a single and hit a batter before retiring Eric Hosmer on a fly ball.
It would be the only time until the sixth inning that Kansas City got a runner to second base.
In the sixth, Melky Cabrera drew a leadoff walk and went to third on a double by Hosmer. Hellickson then caught a popup by Salvador Perez, struck out Moustakas and retired Jorge Bonifacio on a weak grounder to first.
Baltimore made it 6-0 in the eighth when Chris Davis doubled in two runs and scored on a triple by Beckham.
HOUSE OF PAIN
Kansas City was swept in three games at Camden Yards last year, too, and has dropped seven straight in Baltimore since Aug. 26, 2015.
MUST BE THE SHOES
After being traded from Tampa Bay to Baltimore, Beckham had to be fitted for a uniform Tuesday. His shoes, however, were already taken care of.
“It’s funny. I don’t care how many times a guy gets moved, the shoe company will catch up with him,” manager Buck Showalter said. “There were about four or five boxes there, and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, that’s pretty quick.’ God forbid, you go out there in blue shoes on an orange and black team.”
Royals: CF Lorenzo Cain was excluded from the starting lineup after tweaking his hamstring running for a ball in the gap Tuesday night.
Orioles: INF Ryan Flaherty (shoulder) went 2 for 4 with a walk for Class A Frederick against Myrtle Beach on Wednesday.
Royals: RHP Trevor Cahill makes his second start since being acquired in a July 23 trade with San Diego, facing Seattle at home Thursday night. He allowed five runs over four innings in his debut vs. Boston last Saturday.
Orioles: Chris Tillman (1-6, 7.65) helps open a four-game series against the visiting Detroit Tigers. He’s winless in 13 consecutive starts.