MLB

Orioles host red-hot Royals and new/old OF Cabrera

BALTIMORE -- The Kansas City Royals arrive at Camden Yards as one of the hottest teams in baseball.

The Royals, who had a nine-game winning streak ended Saturday, are 9-1 in their last 10 games as they start a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.

Kansas City (55-48) bounced back Sunday, scoring four runs in the eighth inning for a 5-3 victory at Boston. Alcides Escobar's two-run single tied the game, and Alex Gordon's two-run triple proved to be the difference.

"Just kind of typical of our success, you know, the big guys are getting on base and then Esky and Gordy … come up with huge hits," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

The Orioles are returning home after splitting six games on a road trip to Tampa Bay and Texas. Baltimore (50-54) won the final two games of the trip, the last victory a 10-6 decision over the Rangers on Sunday.

"We won a tough series," Orioles manager Buck Showalter told MASN after the series finale in Texas.

Even bigger for the Orioles might have been the fact that closer Zach Britton pitched in consecutive games for the first time since mid-April.

The left-hander looked sharp Sunday after the bullpen struggled at times, recording the game's final two outs for his eighth save of the season.

"He's fine (now)," Showalter said of Britton, who spent several weeks on the disabled list with a strained forearm. "It's exciting to see him throw the ball like that."

For Kansas City on Monday, Danny Duffy (7-6, 3.56 ERA) will try to win a third consecutive start. He allowed one run on six hits in 6 1/3 innings in a 3-1 victory at Detroit last Tuesday.

The left-hander has a 2-2 career mark with a 2.41 ERA against the Orioles.

Baltimore will counter with Ubaldo Jimenez (4-7, 6.93). The right-hander turned in one of his best performances of the season in his last start. He allowed two runs on just three hits in six innings but took the loss as the Rays beat the Orioles 5-1 last Wednesday.

Jimenez has a 5-5 career record with a 4.58 ERA versus the Royals.

The Orioles are expected to activate pitcher Jeremy Hellickson on Monday. They acquired him in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, and he is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday,

Baltimore called up outfielder Craig Gentry on Sunday as Hellickson was not yet on the roster, so the team needs to make another move Monday. Gentry replaced Hyun Soo Kim, who was traded to the Phillies in the Hellickson deal.

Another question for the Orioles on Monday could involve Mark Trumbo, a late scratch Sunday in Texas after tweaking his back while lifting weights. The Orioles hope he is day-to-day.

Kansas City made its own deal Sunday, bringing back outfielder Melky Cabrera -- he played there in 2011 -- in a trade with the Chicago White Sox for minor league pitchers Andre Davis and A.J. Puckett.

Cabrera will play in the outfield or be used as a designated hitter as the Royals fight for a playoff berth.

"He's going to help our team a lot," Gordon said. "He's having a great year. We all know his personality -- smiling, happy-go-lucky guy. Brings a lot of energy to the clubhouse.

"He's going to be comfortable in this situation. We know what he can do."