Adam Jones hit an RBI triple in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, but Royals closer Greg Holland got three consecutive outs to preserve a 3-2 win for Kansas City. (Jamie Squire/GETTY IMAGES)

Despite an unspectacular start Tuesday night, the Baltimore Orioles still had a chance to extend their season-high winning streak to six.

But the Orioles’ ninth-inning rally fell short as they stranded the tying run on third base in a 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals in front of an announced crowd of 19,072.

For most of the night, the Orioles’ offense sputtered, managing just three hits against former Orioles left-hander Bruce Chen and two relievers over the first eight innings.

But Nick Markakis opened the ninth with a single, the Orioles’ first hit since the third inning. Adam Jones followed with a run-scoring triple into the left-center field gap.

The Orioles had three opportunities to tie the game, but home run leader Chris Davis struck out, J.J. Hardy grounded out to third and rookie Henry Urrutia ended the game with a groundout to first.

With Boston’s 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles (57-44) dropped to 3 1 / 2 games behind the division-leading Red Sox in the American League East standings.

Right-hander Jason Hammel allowed 14 base runners through six innings, but recorded his first quality start in nearly a month, allowing three runs on 10 hits.

Hammel dodged danger throughout the night. He allowed at least three base runners in each of the first three innings, including the first three batters in both the first and third innings. But the Royals (46-51) plated just three runs.

Hammel stranded 10 runners on base, mostly because of the Royals’ anemic 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

The Orioles’ first run came on Manny Machado’s eighth homer of the season in the top of the third. Machado took an 0-1 pitch from Chen into the left field stands.

Chen, who was making his second start of the season after previously working in long relief, allowed one run on three hits over six innings. He retired the final 10 batters he faced.

The first three batters in the first inning reached against Hammel before a double-play ball off the bat of Billy Butler scored a run but helped get Hammel out of the inning.

David Lough led off the second inning with a single to right and scored three batters later on an RBI single by No. 9 hitter Chris Getz.

Following Machado’s homer, the Royals went up 3-1 after back-to-back singles by Lorenzo Cain and Butler were followed by Mike Moustakas’s double down the right field line.

— Baltimore Sun