Emotions boiled over in Bud Norris' last start, ultimately leading to his ejection. But that may be nothing compared to the frustration Ned Yost is experiencing due to the Kansas City Royals' inept offense.
Norris will try to keep the Royals bottled up as he looks to lead the Baltimore Orioles to their ninth road win in 11 tries on Saturday night.
Norris (2-3, 3.98 ERA) comes off his longest start of the year, allowing four runs in 7 2-3 innings of a 4-1 loss to Detroit on Monday. He was ejected after plunking Torii Hunter in the ribs in the at-bat immediately following Ian Kinsler's two-run homer. Both dugouts emptied when Hunter yelled at Norris while his stroll to first base veered toward the mound.
"I'm sorry he didn't appreciate it," Norris said. "But at the same token, I'm trying to throw a ball over the plate and get an out, ground ball to third base or something."
The right-hander held the Royals to five hits over six shutout innings in a 7-3 loss on May 21 while with Houston in his only previously outing against them. He'll be challenged to follow Chris Tillman, who pitched a five-hit shutout in Friday's 4-0 win for Baltimore (22-18).
Considering the way Kansas City (20-21) has been struggling at the plate, Norris' work may be easy. Even including a 9-7 win at Seattle on Sunday, the Royals have 25 runs over their last eight games and are 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position while dropping the first two in this series. They're also homerless in seven of their last nine and their 157 runs are the American League's second-fewest.
Billy Butler - who drove in a team-best 82 runs in 2013 - is 5 for 32 (.156) over his last eight games with one RBI.
"Offenses heat up, cool off," Yost said. "Right now we don't have anybody where I can sit back and say this boy is really swinging the bat well right now."
Saturday's starter Danny Duffy (1-3, 1.96) has endured the brunt of Kansas City's offensive struggles in his two starts since sliding into the rotation in place of the injured Bruce Chen. Though he allowed just two runs over 10 innings in those outings, he didn't receive a single run of support.
"We wasted a good start," teammate Alex Gordon told the team's website on May 8 after Duffy allowed only two hits in six innings in a 1-0 defeat at Seattle.
The winning run was charged against Duffy in a 3-2 loss in 10 innings at Baltimore on April 26 as he failed to record an out in relief. He allowed two runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-3 road loss to the Orioles on May 24, 2011, his only career start against them.
Adam Jones singled Friday, extending his hitting streak to 11 games, while Nelson Cruz was 2 for 3 with two RBIs to improve to 6 for 15 over his last four games with seven RBIs.
Eric Hosmer has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 matchups with Baltimore.