BALTIMORE — Former Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie received a warm reception from the crowd at Camden Yards when he took the mound Thursday for the first time here since he was traded away before last season.
Then the Kansas City Royals right-hander did his part to beat his former team, handing Baltimore a 6-2 defeat in front of an announced crowd of 23,282.
Guthrie, who was the Orioles opening day starter in 2008, ’09 and ’11, held Baltimore to two runs (one earned) on seven hits over six innings to snap the Orioles’ four-game winning streak and allow the Royals to salvage the series finale.
Kansas City, which scored just three runs in each of the first two games of the series, hit three homers Thursday, including two off starter Freddy Garcia (0-1) in a four-run fourth inning.
Despite the loss, the Orioles (21-14) still won their eighth series out of 11 this season as they head into a three-game series in Minnesota.
Guthrie, dealt to the Colorado Rockies before the 2012 season in a deal that brought Jason Hammel to Baltimore, pitched for the Orioles from 2007 to ’11 and averaged 13 losses on teams that averaged 95 defeats during that span. But he has found new life since being traded to Kansas City during last season.
Guthrie (5-0), who was coming off his first career shutout in his previous start, recorded his sixth quality start in seven outings this season.
The Orioles managed just one hit in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position. On Guthrie’s final pitch of the night, he struck out Ryan Flaherty — who represented the tying run at the time — looking with a runner on second to end the sixth inning.
Garcia, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in Anaheim on Saturday in his first start with Baltimore, retired the first 10 hitters he faced, but he quickly yielded four runs in the fourth inning.
Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer each hit two-run homers in the inning, turning what first looked like a promising outing to a three-run deficit.
After Alcides Escobar reached on an infield hit, Gordon launched a 2-1 pitch onto the flag court in right field. Two batters later, after a Billy Butler single, Hosmer took a 2-0 pitch into seats in left.
Gordon’s homer, his sixth of the season, marked the first time in his career he’s homered in three straight games — with all coming against the Orioles. Hosmer’s snapped a homerless streak of 144 at-bats that dated to last Sept. 11.
The 36-year-old Garcia, who joined the Orioles last weekend after going 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA with Class AAA Norfolk, needed just 32 pitches to get through the first three innings before enduring a 25-pitch fourth inning.
Still, Garcia made it through six innings, allowing four runs on five hits with three strikeouts and one walk. He was pulled after 77 pitches (47 strikes).
T.J. McFarland, who hadn’t pitched since May 1, yielded a solo homer to Mike Moustakas on his second pitch of the inning, a 1-0 slider that Moustakas hit high off the right-field foul pole.
The game began 31 minutes late because of a threat of inclement weather.