BALTIMORE (AP) – Nicky Lopez and Nick Dini homered on successive pitches in the seventh inning and the Kansas City Royals stretched Baltimore’s latest losing streak to eight games, defeating the Orioles 5-4 Monday night.
Kansas City (45-80) won for only the sixth time in its last 22 games, and Baltimore (39-86) absorbed its 13th loss in 14 games.
The only team with fewer wins than these two struggling clubs is Detroit.
Orioles starter John Means (8-9) kept Kansas City hitless until Lopez led off the sixth inning with a single to spark a three-run uprising that wiped out a 1-0 deficit.
It was 3-2 before Lopez hit a drive off Gabriel Ynoa and Dini ended an 0-for-10 run with his first major league homer on his 15th plate appearance.
Jorge Lopez (2-7) allowed one run and two hits over five innings and Ian Kennedy, the last of five Kansas City relievers, gave up a home run to Rio Ruiz in the ninth before recording his 22nd save.
Jonathan Villar also homered for the Orioles, who have endured skids of five games (twice), six games and 10 games this season.
Royals 1B Chestor Cuthbert went 0 for 4 and is hitless in last 34 at-bats since Aug. 8.
HIGH SCHOOL REUNION
Means and KC’s Bubba Starling, who played together at Gardner-Edgerton High in Kansas, faced each other in the big leagues for the first time.
After their senior year, Starling signed with KC as the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft and Means went to college after nixing a chance to sign with Atlanta.
Means got the better of his old friend in the reunion, retiring Starling on a grounder and strikeout.
FORGET NO. 1
Should the Orioles finish with the worst record in the majors, they will again get the No. 1 pick in the draft next June. That has absolutely no bearing on how they play over the final six weeks, manager Brandon Hyde said.
“It’s obviously been a really tough year. We knew that coming in,” Hyde acknowledged. “But we’re not going to stop fighting and competing. If you ask any player in (the clubhouse), they could care less about the No. 1 draft choice. It’s about trying to win every single night. Our coaching staff feels the same way.”
Royals: SS Adalberto Mondesi (shoulder) is slated to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday.
He’s been out since July 17 and has missed 30 games.
“We’re in no hurry to rush him back. We need to make sure he’s good,” manager Ned Yost said.
LHP Danny Duffy (right oblique strain) plans to continue his rehab stint Tuesday at Omaha.
“He’s going to go four innings and limit his pitch count to around 15 per inning,” Yost said.
Orioles: C Chance Sisco was sore but available after being hit in the groin by a foul ball on Sunday in Boston.
Earlier in the same inning, Sisco was struck on the left arm by a foul ball.
OF Dwight Smith Jr. (left calf strain) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Norfolk as a DH and is poised to play the outfield on Tuesday.
Royals: RHP Brad Keller (7-13, 4.10 ERA) attempts to break a career-high, four-start losing streak in the second game of the series Tuesday night.
In his last outing, Keller pitched six innings of no-hit ball before St. Louis tagged him in the seventh.
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (5-13, 5.25) seeks his first win in five starts since beating Arizona on July 23.