KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Yordano Ventura struck out a career-high 11 in just six innings, Paulo Orlando homered and the Kansas City Royals hung on to beat the struggling Baltimore Orioles 5-3 on Thursday.
Ventura (9-7) allowed two hits and four walks to improve to 5-0 in his last seven starts.
The Royals' usually solid bullpen nearly gave it away, though. Kelvin Herrera served up a homer to Ryan Flaherty in the seventh, and Greg Holland allowed two more runs in the ninth before getting Gerardo Parra to ground out with a runner on to end the game.
Chris Tillman (9-9), who tossed a five-hitter at Kauffman Stadium last May, followed his first loss since May 31 with another.
The game wasn't all that Baltimore lost, either.
All-Star outfielder Adam Jones left soon after crashing into the wall trying to track down a fly ball in the first. Jones lay on the warning track for a few minutes before standing up and finishing the inning. There was no word on the nature or severity of the injury.
The first five outs Ventura recorded were punchouts, and he later struck out Matt Wieters to leave runners on second and third. Ventura eventually surpassed his career-best of 10 strikeouts set last May by fanning Wieters for the third time with a 99 mph fastball.
Orlando also contributed a sacrifice fly for the Royals, while hot-hitting Mike Moustakas drove in a pair of runs and Salvador Perez had an RBI single
The AL Central-leading Royals took three of four in the series, and have won 10 of their last 11 against the Orioles. Baltimore still has not won back-to-back games since sweeping Oakland earlier this month.
The start of the game was delayed by 1 hour, 35 minutes, as a storm rolled briskly through the metro area.
Ventura followed up the thunder with some lightning of his own, an assortment of fastballs that nipped at triple digits and kept the slumping Orioles flailing.
Ventura had at least two strikeouts each of his first four innings.
The Royals gave him the lead in the fourth when Perez scored in the midst of three straight hits, and Orlando's sacrifice fly made it 2-0. They added another run in the fifth when Moustakas, riding an eight-game hitting streak, had an RBI single through the right side.
Orlando added his homer in the sixth. Moustakas drove in his second run in the seventh.
Orioles: Jones walked in his only plate appearance before leaving the game.
Royals: CF Lorenzo Cain and 1B Eric Hosmer got a day off from the starting lineup as manager Ned Yost tries to keep key players fresh. Hosmer pinch ran in the seventh and stayed in the game.
Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman opens a three-game set Friday night at Texas.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez starts a three-game series Friday night at Tampa Bay.