Baltimore at Kansas City

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Tatis finishes with two hits in return to starting role for O's

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Fernando Tatis surfaced again Thursday night after all but disappearing from baseball for two years.

Tatis, starting in the major leagues for the first time since June 15, 2003, had two hits, drove in a run and scored twice to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

"This guy was a heck of a player and then he kind of dropped off the face of the earth for a couple of years and now he's back, so it's nice to see him back," said Kevin Millar, who homered in the sixth to put the Orioles ahead 3-2. "I wish him good things. He's a great guy, a great teammate. I'm happy for him to be back."

Tatis hit 34 home runs, drove in 107 runs and became the first player to hit two grand slams in the same inning in 1999, with St. Louis. Then groin, shoulder and knee injuries took their toll on him and Tatis missed the final 92 games of the 2003 season with inflammation in his chest wall.

"I'm very excited," said Tatis, who had his first multi-hit game since May 7, 2003. "I'm healthy. I'm 100 percent. I just wanted to go out and try to have a good game, just be myself. The best part is we won the game."

Tatis, who was released by Tampa Bay in spring training in 2004 and did not play professional baseball the past two seasons, doubled in the seventh and scored on a fielding error by third baseman Mark Teahen.

In the Orioles' two-run eighth, Javy Lopez led off with a double, advanced on Corey Patterson's bunt single and scored on pinch-hitter Nick Markakis' groundout. Tatis drove in the second run with a groundout to make it 6-3.

Jeff Conine, who had four hits Wednesday, had a two-run single in the third as the Orioles took a 2-0 lead.

"I'm not surprised," Conine said of Tatis' performance. "He's obviously got a track record. He's a pretty good baseball player. It was nice to see him have a good night. He was with us in spring training and was biding his time."

The 31-year-old third baseman signed a minor league contract with the Orioles last November and was invited to spring training. He began the season with Triple-A Ottawa, hitting .298 in 90 games before he was promoted on Friday.

"He came into shape and was in good shape," Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo said. "He went to Triple-A and went about his business as a professional and earned his way up."

The Royals opened the fifth with consecutive singles by Mark Grudzielanek, Teahen, Matt Stairs and Emil Brown. Brown's single drove in one run and Kansas City tied it on Angel Berroa's sacrifice fly.

Teahen's error gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead and Berroa's second sacrifice fly made it a one-run game in the seventh.

Grudzielanek had an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth.

Orioles right-hander Rodrigo Lopez, who entered the game with a 6.73 ERA, the second-highest in the American League, allowed two runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings, but the Royals stranded 10 runners in the first six innings. Lopez (7-11) lowered his ERA to 6.59.

Grudzielanek and Stairs each had three of the Royals' 14 hits, but they were just 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

"Four runs on 14 hits, we definitely left some guys out there," Teahen said. "We had 14 hits, but we've got to come up with a few clutch hits and capitalize on that."

Jimmy Gobble gave up two runs and five hits in five innings before being replaced by Duckworth, who was making his first relief appearance of the season after eight starts.

"The main focus was make sure I got ahead and was trying to induce contact early," Gobble said. "It was better than I had before, but five innings, you want more."

Chris Ray worked a perfect ninth to earn his 26th save in 27 opportunities.

The Orioles, who have lost 30 of their past 46 road games, took two of three from the Royals to win only their fourth road series.

Notes

  • Royals DH Mike Sweeney, who has missed 77 games with a bulging disk, went 1-for-7 with a home run, a walk and two strikeouts in two rehab games with Class-A Burlington in the Midwest League. Sweeney was off Thursday and will join the Double-A Wichita on Friday.
  • After 103 games last year, the Orioles were 51-52. This year they are 47-56.
  • RHP Joe Nelson's wild pitch in the seventh was the Royals' 57th, which leads the majors.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Fernando Tatis gets props from Javy Lopez after scoring the first of his two runs.  (AP)
Fernando Tatis gets props from Javy Lopez after scoring the first of his two runs. (AP)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

M. Grudzielanek
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
Baltimore

F. Tatis
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B5110012 .300
Melvin Mora, DH2000312 .287
Miguel Tejada, SS5010015 .325
Jeff Conine, LF-1B5012015 .268
Javy Lopez, C5110003 .268
    Ramon Hernandez, C0000000 .268
Kevin Millar, 1B3111012 .250
    Brandon Fahey, PR-LF0100000 .272
Corey Patterson, CF4010010 .281
Luis Terrero, RF3010010 .200
   a- Nick Markakis, PH-RF1001000 .280
Fernando Tatis, 3B4221000 .400
Totals376953719 
a-hit into fielder's choice for Terrero in the 8th
Batting
2B - Brian Roberts (25, Gobble), Javy Lopez (15, Wellemeyer), Fernando Tatis (1, Duckworth)
HR - Kevin Millar (8, Duckworth)
RBI - Jeff Conine 2 (39), Kevin Millar (37), Nick Markakis (26), Fernando Tatis (1)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Conine 2 (14)
CS - Luis Terrero (3, 2nd base by Gobble/Phillips)
Team LOB - 8
Baltimore Orioles
Rodrigo Lopez (W,7-11) 5.21122150 6.57
Bruce Chen (H,1) 0.2111110 7.09
Todd Williams (H,8) 0.2000000 4.58
LaTroy Hawkins (H,12) 0.1211000 4.30
Kurt Birkins (H,4) 0.1000100 4.70
Chris Britton (H,2) 0.1000000 2.77
Chris Ray (S,26) 1000000 2.66
Pitches-Strikes - Rodrigo Lopez 79-59, Bruce Chen 14-9, Todd Williams 5-4, LaTroy Hawkins 11-6, Kurt Birkins 5-1, Chris Britton 10-7, Chris Ray 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rodrigo Lopez 5-7, Bruce Chen 1-0, Todd Williams 1-1, Chris Ray 1-2
Batters Faced - Rodrigo Lopez 29, Bruce Chen 4, Todd Williams 2, LaTroy Hawkins 3, Kurt Birkins 2, Chris Britton 1, Chris Ray 3
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, LF5110013 .300
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B5131001 .285
Mark Teahen, 3B3110222 .271
Matt Stairs, 1B5130003 .260
Emil Brown, DH4011124 .281
Shane Costa, RF4020003 .260
Angel Berroa, SS3002002 .247
Joey Gathright, CF5010014 .211
Paul Phillips, C4020002 .294
Totals3841443624 
Batting
2B - David DeJesus (18, Hawkins), Shane Costa (11, Lopez)
SF - Angel Berroa 2 (3)
SH - Shane Costa (1)
RBI - Mark Grudzielanek (32), Emil Brown (49), Angel Berroa 2 (40)
Team LOB - 13
Fielding
E - Angel Berroa (12, ), Mark Teahen (11, )
Kansas City Royals
Jimmy Gobble 5522250 4.78
Brandon Duckworth (L,1-5) 1.1221011 4.91
Joe Nelson 0.2000000 1.50
Todd Wellemeyer0222000 5.26
Andrew Sisco 2000110 6.80
HBP - Millar (by Todd Wellemeyer)
WP - Joe Nelson (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Jimmy Gobble 94-57, Brandon Duckworth 17-12, Joe Nelson 11-6, Todd Wellemeyer 11-6, Andrew Sisco 35-22
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jimmy Gobble 5-5, Brandon Duckworth 2-1, Joe Nelson 2-1, Andrew Sisco 2-3
Batters Faced - Jimmy Gobble 22, Brandon Duckworth 6, Joe Nelson 3, Todd Wellemeyer 3, Andrew Sisco 7
Game Information
Attendance - 11418
Game Time - 3:34
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Rob Drake, First Base - Ed Hickox, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman