- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 2, 2017

BALTIMORE (AP) - The two newest members of the Baltimore Orioles did exactly what they were brought in to do: help the team win.

Baltimore fans can only hope Jeremy Hellickson and Tim Beckham do that consistently enough to carry the Orioles into the postseason.

Hellickson threw seven outstanding innings in his Baltimore debut, Beckham had two extra-base hits and two RBIs and the Orioles beat the Kansas City Royals 6-0 Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep.

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.

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.

“I’ve been traded before, just not in season to a team that is playing as well as we are, that has a chance to make the playoffs,” Hellickson said. “It’s always good to throw a good one your first time out with a new team.”

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.

“I’m happy to be here, happy they believe in me,” the shortstop said. “We got a great club here, man, great club, love the energy, love the team camaraderie. It’s going to be a fun ride.”

The Royals had won 10 of 11 before coming up flat at Camden Yards, scoring only three runs in 27 innings.

“We definitely didn’t hit the ball well in this series,” said Mike Moustakas, who came in with 30 home runs. “They pitched the ball great and we just didn’t have any offense going.”

The Royals showed their frustration in the ninth inning, when Moustakas was tossed after complaining about a third-strike call and manager Ned Yost was ejected for joining the argument.

“That pitch was nowhere close to being a strike,” Yost insisted.

Baltimore went up 3-0 in the second inning against Jason Vargas (13-5) when Beckham doubled in a run and Caleb 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 .


Kansas City was swept in three games at Camden Yards last year, too, and has dropped seven straight in Baltimore since Aug. 26, 2015.


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.


More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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