BALTIMORE — A little more than 12 hours after their game against the Kansas City Royals ended early Sunday morning, the Baltimore Orioles were back on the field at Camden Yards trying to salvage a series split.
A three-hour, nine-minute rain delay left little room for rest between the games, but after falling out of the AL wild-card lead and sliding into third place in the AL East, game No. 115 of the season was just as important despite the yawns and tired eyes.
Mark Reynolds, who sat out the past two games, came through with the game-winning single, taking a slider from Royals reliever Louis Coleman to left field in the sixth that brought home Adam Jones from second to give the Orioles a 4-3 lead en route to a 5-3 win over the Royals.
Baltimore (62-53) gained a game on the division-leading New York Yankees, cutting their AL East lead to 51 / 2 games.
Rookie third baseman Manny Machado hit his third career homer in his fourth major league game, giving the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the second on a two-run blast to left. Of Machado’s six major league hits, five of them are for extra bases (three homers, one triple, one double).
Machado’s arrival — and the team’s dedication to playing him regularly — has cut into Reynolds’s playing time because third baseman Wilson Betemit has started the past two games at first.
But Reynolds made the most of his start Sunday, coming through with the game-winning hit and scoring two runs. He walked before Machado’s homer.
Reynolds also made a huge defensive play in the Royals’ two-run fourth. With two on and two out in a tie game, Reynolds dove to his left and backhanded a ball down the line off the bat of Chris Getz and ran to first base to end the threat.
Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas homered to open the fourth and Brayan Pena’s sacrifice fly to left tied it at 2 before Reynolds’s play on Getz. The Royals took a 3-2 lead in the fifth on a double-play ball that came after back-to-back leadoff singles off Baltimore starter Tommy Hunter.
Hunter allowed three runs on eight hits over five innings and allowed a home run in his 10th consecutive start. Hunter has allowed 27th homers on the season, tied for second-most in the majors.
The Orioles bullpen threw four scoreless innings in relief, capped by Jim Johnson’s 34th save of the season.
Up 4-3, the Orioles added an insurance run in the eighth when Nate McLouth scored on a passed ball on Pena.