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Royals turn to Ventura in opener with O's

(SportsNetwork.com) - Kansas City youngster Yordano Ventura gets his second crack at Baltimore on Thursday night when the Orioles visit Kauffman Stadium to open a four-game weekend series with the host Royals.

Ventura, a 22-year-old Dominican, scored the second win of his brief big- league career against Baltimore back on April 25, when he tossed eight scoreless innings and struck out eight batters in the Royals' 5-0 win.

Baltimore slugger Adam Jones was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in that game and gave credit to Ventura afterward.

"That kid's special, to say the least," Jones said. "He's got a 95-100, and his changeup I think is the pitch that keeps people off his fastball. His curveball was filthy. I don't like to tip my cap, but the guy's got some good stuff and he went out there and showed it."

Ventura is winless in three starts since. He allowed three runs -- including two home runs -- in 6 1/3 innings of his most recent start, a 3-1 loss on Saturday against Seattle.

"He threw the ball really well," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The pitch to (Justin) Smoak wasn't a bad pitch, it was down and in that he got the head out on. The pitch to (Dustin) Ackley was a changeup that he drove into the seats. But outside of that, it was OK."

Lefty Wei-Yin Chen gets the call for Baltimore in search of a repeat of his effort against the Royals from the same April series.

Chen tossed seven innings and allowed two runs while getting a no-decision in a game the Orioles won, 3-2, in 10 innings.

He's 1-1 since, with a 3.00 earned run average.

His most recent start was Friday, when he defeated Houston, 4-3, after going seven innings and allowing two runs.

On Wednesday in Baltimore, Miguel Cabrera and Rajai Davis each drove in a pair of runs as the Detroit Tigers recorded their eighth consecutive road win, a 7-5 triumph over the Orioles that completed a three-game sweep.

Justin Verlander (5-2) survived a rough fifth inning in which the Orioles scored five times -- highlighted by Nelson Cruz's three-run homer -- to remain unbeaten at Camden Yards for his career.

Kevin Gausman (0-1), making his first start of the season, was tagged for five runs on six hits over four innings to take the loss.

Cruz finished 2-for-5 and Jones had three hits, including an RBI single.

In Kansas City, Mike Moustakas' three-run double in the second inning proved to be the difference in the Royals' 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Jason Vargas (4-1) allowed two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings for the Royals, who swept the brief two-game series.

Greg Holland stranded runners on first and third in the ninth to pick up his 10th save of the season.

The Royals have won five of their last six versus the Orioles, winning two of three in Baltimore in late April.