BALTIMORE — Left-hander John Means could not have seen it coming.
The Baltimore Orioles’ all-star rookie was attempting to snap a three-game losing streak and looked as if he was going to do it in grand style, carrying a no-hit bid into the sixth inning against a Kansas City Royals team that has struggled almost as much as the Orioles have this season.
But the no-hit bid ended right there, wilting under a hail of hits that sent Means packing before he could record another out. The Royals erupted, as so many other opponents have in the late innings, to score a 5-4 victory before an announced crowd of 11,659 at Camden Yards.
Means (8-9) didn’t need that, not after failing to get out of the fourth inning in three straight starts, allowing 13 earned runs over 10⅔ innings during those games and falling back to .500 for the first time since early May.
What he needed was some early run support, but he was clinging to a precarious 1-0 lead when it all unraveled.
It was an unlikely pitching duel to begin with. Royals right-hander Jorge López was also trying to figure things out after bouncing back and forth between the starting rotation and the bullpen, failing to win in any of his 11 previous starts.
He allowed just a pair of hits over five innings, including a long RBI double by DJ Stewart, and left the game at that point trailing by that run.
But six straight Royals hitters reached base in the sixth, and Means was done for the night.