KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Ubaldo Jimenez had dynamite stuff, as seven strikeouts and one walk in five innings would indicate.
He also made one costly mistake to Alex Gordon.
Gordon drove a 1-1 pitch from Jimenez (2-5) out to right with two outs in the fifth with Nori Aoki and Billy Butler aboard. Gordon, who led the Royals with 20 home runs last year, had gone 134 at-bats without a home run.
“The pitch to Gordon was uncharacteristic,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He had, really, just the one (bad) pitch. He tried to go down and away, and it came back in and came into a sweet spot (for Gordon). He hadn’t walked anybody to that point, either. Except for one pitch I thought he was good. After the first inning he was pretty crisp.”
“He got a backup slider about the same place and just made us pay for it,” Showalter said.
Adam Jones hit a three-run homer off Royals reliever Aaron Crow in the ninth. It was the first runs Crow allowed in 20 relief appearances and 17 innings.
“The pitch to Gordon was the one mistake Ubaldo made,” Jones said. “We’ve just got to score a few more runs. We didn’t beat ourselves. We just got beat.”
Greg Holland got the final two outs for his 12th save in 13 appearances.
James Shields (6-3) picked up his fifth win in six starts, holding the Orioles to three runs and nine hits over seven innings. Shields won back-to-back starts at Kauffman Stadium for the first time.
Shields settled down after a three-run third when he gave up five hits, including four straight to open the inning.
“Shields is one of the best pitchers in the American League,” Showalter said. “Shields throws less than 50 percent fastballs and I thought we had a good approach. We got 12 hits. At this level if you make two mistakes to a good hitter they are going to make you pay, and unfortunately it came with some runners on base.”
Jimenez, who was 2-0 with a 0.46 ERA in his first three May starts, was pulled after five innings.