BALTIMORE -- Down by four runs and within 12 outs of another loss at Camden Yards, the Kansas City Royals put together the kind of inning that happens maybe once a year.
Mark Grudzielanek went 4-for-5 and played a key role in a seven-run sixth that carried the Royals past the Baltimore Orioles 10-7 on Thursday night.
Kansas City overcame two homers by Aubrey Huff to earn a split of the four-game series. The Royals took an early 3-0 lead, then yielded seven straight runs before sending 11 players to the plate in their most prolific inning since an eight-run second against St. Louis on June 14, 2007.
"We don't put too many seven spots up and we had help," manager Trey Hillman said.
It started with a leadoff walk to Jose Guillen. Then, after Billy Butler doubled and Miguel Olivo struck out, Kevin Millar botched a grounder to first as Guillen scored. Adam Loewen (0-2) replaced starter Garrett Olson and gave up an RBI single to Ross Gload before Tony Pena got an infield hit to load the bases.
David DeJesus singled in a run, matching his career-high hitting streak of 15 games, and Grudzielanek greeted Chad Braford with a run-scoring single to tie it. Alex Gordon followed with a sacrifice fly and Guillen capped the uprising with a two-run single.
"Belief is within everybody," Grudzielanek said. "You don't want to make the last out, either, so you go out there and try to do something and get a good pitch. We did that."
Millar's error didn't hurt, either.
"They made a mistake there, the fielding error, and we capitalized on it," Butler noted.
The last time the Royals scored more than six runs in an inning on the road was Sept. 30, 2006, a seven-run first at Detroit.
"We did a good job of putting some hits together after we got down by a long ways," Hillman said.
Joel Peralta (1-2) pitched two scoreless innings and Joakim Soria worked a perfect ninth for his 23rd save. Butler and Pena hit solo homers to help the Royals win in Baltimore for only the second time in 11 games.
Huff hit a solo shot in the fourth and a two-run drive in the fifth, both off Kyle Davies. Huff has three homers in his last two games and 17 for the season, two more than in 2007. He also doubled in a 3-for-4 night, but Baltimore's designated hitter watched in dismay during Kansas City's big inning.
"That's baseball. Our bullpen has been steady all year long," Huff said. "You've got to give them credit. They were just hitting in that inning, and you really can't do much about it."
The Royals got six hits in the sixth, but Orioles manager Dave Trembley lamented the leadoff walk to Guillen and Millar's error.
"You've got to give Kansas City credit. We gave them an opening and they took advantage of it," Trembley said. "When you get a leadoff walk and then you make a physical error, now you're talking about a five-out inning."
Said Olson: "I think I created my own trouble in the sixth inning. You can't walk the leadoff hitter."
As a result, the Orioles became the last team in the majors to lose a game in which they scored at least six runs. Baltimore was 27-0 when scoring six runs or more.
Down 3-0, the Orioles batted around in a five-run fourth that included Huff's first home run and successive triples by Adam Jones and light-hitting Brandon Fahey. After Huff homered, Ramon Hernandez singled and scored on a two-out single by Melvin Mora. Millar walked and Jones drove in two runs before Fahey hit a liner off the scoreboard in right.
Huff's homer made it 7-3 in the fifth, but Baltimore got only one more hit the rest of the way.
Butler made it 1-0 in the second with his second homer in 196 at-bats this season. Pena led off the third with his first home run, the fourth of his three-year major league career, and Guillen added an RBI single for a 3-0 lead.