Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop drops the ball while trying to tag Nori Aoki in the first inning of Baltimore’s 1-0 loss. (Orlin Wagner/Associated Press)

For the majority of this young season, the Orioles’ vaunted offense — which led the major leagues in home runs last year and then added slugger Nelson Cruz this offseason — has failed to live up to its advanced billing.

On Saturday, in a 1-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals, the Orioles’ offensive struggles nearly took a historic turn.

Royals left-hander Danny Duffy retired the first 20 batters he faced and was just seven outs away from pitching the first perfect game against the Orioles in modern franchise history.

Ultimately, that didn’t happen. Adam Jones smacked a single up the middle with two outs in the seventh to ruin Duffy’s chance at baseball immortality.

“I heard somebody say, ‘This is the type of feel for a perfect game,’ ” Orioles rookie catcher Caleb Joseph said. “And then right after that someone said, ‘Jonesy is about to rip one right here.’ And you could just feel it.”

Jones, who was 0 for 2 before that at-bat, said he didn’t make it a personal mission to break up the perfect game.

“I don’t care about all that,” Jones said. “But I just don’t want to see it done against my team.”

The Orioles (22-19) avoided infamy but still managed just three total hits, their fewest this season. It was the third time they’ve been shut out this season and the second time by the Royals (21-21).

The Orioles now have scored three runs or fewer in 12 of their past 20 games.

“We’ve shown signs of it, but we just haven’t really clicked at all together,” said bench coach John Russell, who was the acting manager while Buck Showalter attended his daughter’s law school graduation. “It’s going to happen. We have too many good offensive pieces in our lineup for it not to happen.”

— Baltimore Sun