Baltimore, MD – Billy Butler might not have been able to finish off the cycle, but he did enough damage in his first three at-bats to lead the Royals to a 8-2 win over Baltimore in the opener of a four-game set.
Butler hit a three-run blast as a part of a four-run first inning and finished a single short of the cycle as the Royals cruised to their third straight win.
Will Smith (3-4) held the early lead and limited Baltimore to two runs on six hits in seven innings.
The Royals crushed Wei-Yin Chen (10-7), who had entered Thursday's game with a 1.95 earned run average since the All-Star break, for seven runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Much of the focus on the night was on infielder Manny Machado, who made his major league debut at third base and batting ninth for the Orioles. The 20- year-old picked up his first two career hits and scored a run for the O's, who saw their five-game win streak snapped.
"It would've been way better if we would have come out with the win," Machado said of his debut.
Alex Gordon started the game with his third lead-off home run of the season. After Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain singled, Butler belted a three-run blast to left field to give the Royals a four-run lead.
"There had been some games here recently where we had gotten some runners on in the first inning and hadn't really capitalized on it and we did today," said Butler.
Butler started a rally in the third inning with a one-out double. After Salvador Perez grounded out, Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur came through with back-to-back doubles to expand Kansas City's lead to six.
The Royals put another run on the board in the fifth after Butler picked up his first triple since 2009. He scored on Perez's sacrifice fly to make the score 7-0.
Butler struck out in the seventh and ninth innings.
Machado gave the home crowd something to cheer about in the bottom half of the fifth inning. After he grounded out in his first major league at-bat in the second, Machado laced a triple to right-center field in his second plate appearance. He later scored on Nick Markakis' sacrifice fly.
Gordon doubled then scored on an Escobar base hit in the sixth before Matt Wieters socked an opposite-field home run in the bottom half of the frame to cap the scoring.
Aaron Crow and Jeremy Jeffress combined to toss a pair of hitless frames to seal the win.
Machado became the first Oriole to debut before his 21st birthday since Hayden Penn in 2005 and the first position player since Eugene Kingsdale in 1996...Butler homered off Chen for the second time this season...Kansas City went 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position and Baltimore went 0-for-3.