Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz, right, tosses his bat after striking out swinging to end the eighth inning Sunday afternoon. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

The typically sound Baltimore Orioles defense didn’t help starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez on Sunday afternoon against the Kansas City Royals at Camden Yards.

Center fielder Adam Jones dropped a flyball on the first play of the game that led to an unearned run, and the Orioles botched a rundown play that opened the door for a two-run fifth inning in a 9-3 loss in front of an announced 38,368.

After finishing a 15-game stretch against American League East teams with a 9-6 record, the Orioles (12-12) dropped two of three against the Royals.

“Hey, I think mistakes are going to happen,” Jones said. “As long as you made the mistakes aggressively, live with them. We live with our mistakes. We live with our success. You can’t be high when you do good and be low when you do bad. You’ve got to be on an even keel.”

The Orioles were outscored 16-6 in the three-game series. They have scored three or fewer runs in 10 of their 11 games at Camden Yards this season.

Kansas City right-hander James Shields held the Orioles to just three hits over seven innings. No. 9 hitter David Lough’s infield single — a weak popup that dropped between Shields and third baseman Mike Moustakas — was the only hit Shields allowed in the first five innings.

“Can’t give him no wiggle room,” Jones said of Shields. “You give him a lead, he knows how to sustain it. Tip your cap to him. . . . The song [says], ‘Mama says there’ll be days like this.’ ”

Second baseman Omar Infante tied a career high with six RBI for the Royals (12-12).

An Orioles lineup that led the major leagues in home runs last season with 212 has hit just 17 through 24 games this year, including seven from Nelson Cruz, who provided the majority of the team’s offense Sunday with a two-run homer in the sixth inning.

Gonzalez allowed four runs — three earned — and six hits while striking out four batters and walking one. He matched a season high with six innings pitched.

“I actually thought he was carrying pretty good stuff,” Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said. “Deserved a better fate. You give them, probably three runs we gave them? When facing somebody as good as Shields and especially the stuff he was carrying today, there wasn’t much margin for error — pitching or defensively.”

Kansas City center fielder Nori Aoki led off the game with a flyball to center that Jones dropped with the sun in his eyes, allowing Aoki to move to third base on the three-base error. Aoki then scored the game’s first run on Infante’s groundout to shortstop.

“The elements are the elements,” Jones said of the error, which snapped a streak of 142 straight errorless games for the three-time Gold Glove winner. “Missed it.”

— Baltimore Sun