Orioles break out of scoring slump against Royals

" Figure this: The Orioles had scored a total of four runs in their last three games before Friday's outburst. Baltimore has won seven of its last eight against Kansas City.

" Unsung hero: Orioles first baseman Aubrey Huff was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, while second baseman Brian Roberts was 1-for-3 with a run, an RBI and a stolen base.

" Quotable: "We had several chances throughout the ball game to blow it
open and we couldn't seem to come up with it, but we persevered and Nick came through with a big hit for us." -- Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo

" Elias Says: Markakis' grand slam sealed the Orioles' win. At 23 years old, Markakis is the youngest Orioles player to hit a grand slam since 22-year-old Cal Ripken hit one in 1983.

-- ESPN.com news services

Orioles 8, Royals 1

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Erik Bedard wasn't particularly sharp, and for a change it didn't matter. Baltimore's struggling offense provided the left-hander with an early lead, and Bedard managed to make the rare scoring outburst stand up.

Bedard allowed one run in six trying innings, and the Orioles used a 12-hit attack to beat the Kansas City Royals 8-1 Friday night.

Baltimore led 4-0 after three innings, and Nick Markakis sealed the win with his first career grand slam in the eighth against Todd Wellemeyer.

"We had several chances throughout the ball game to blow it open and we couldn't seem to come up with it, but we persevered and Nick came through with a big hit for us," manager Sam Perlozzo said.

The game was decided far earlier, when the Orioles took control against Brandon Duckworth by scoring twice in the first inning before adding runs in the second and third.

"It always helps to have a little cushion," said Bedard, whose only 1-2-3 inning was the sixth. "I just couldn't get the leadoff hitter out. I had a couple walks at bad times and the bases loaded here and there; it just seemed like I was always in trouble."

Bedard (2-1) allowed five hits, struck out nine and walked four. Most of his 102 pitches were curveballs.

"My fastball was a little off, but they were swinging at curveballs so I just kept throwing them," he said. "It was a hard six innings."

Aubrey Huff had two hits, two RBIs and scored a run for the Orioles, whose eight runs were a season high. They scored a total of four runs in their previous three games and came in with a team batting average of .226.

After Bedard left, Perlozzo turned the game over to a bullpen that received a $42 million makeover during the offseason. Chad Bradford retired Mark Grudzielanek on a grounder with two on and two out in the seventh, Danys Baez worked the eighth and Brian Burres finished.

Reggie Sanders went 3-for-4 for the Royals, who have lost three straight and six of seven. Kansas City stranded 10 runners and scored only one run in a second consecutive game.

"We have only played 11 games. We keep telling ourselves don't panic, there are 151 games left," designated hitter Mike Sweeney said. "As a team, we aren't getting hits. We have to keep grinding. It's not lack of effort or desire; we're just not getting it done."

Kansas City still had a shot until Markakis connected on a 3-2 pitch in the eighth.

"You think you have a chance," Sanders said. "Once that went over the wall, it was, 'See ya later!"

Duckworth (0-1) allowed four runs, two earned, nine hits and four walks in five innings. The right-hander pitched 6 1-3 shutout innings in his first start against Detroit, but that was at home. He is 7-19 in 57 career appearances on the road and winless since April 2004.

"It seemed like early on it was first and second, nobody out every inning," Duckworth said. "The whole night it seemed the story was runners on. It seemed like I was behind more and the ball was moving every place tonight. I did not have good command of it."

Baltimore scored two unearned runs in the first inning and was left wanting more. After Melvin Mora doubled and third baseman Esteban German booted a grounder, Huff hit a two-out liner to right-center that landed at the top of the wall. Umpires initially called it a home run, then switched it to a double, drawing an argument (in vain) from Perlozzo.

The two-run double ended a 1-for-14 skid for Huff, who was stranded at third base.

Brian Roberts doubled in a run in the second, but Duckworth avoided further damage by retiring Miguel Tejada on a grounder with two outs and the bases loaded.

Baltimore loaded the bases with no outs in the third but scored only one run, on a groundout by Paul Bako.

Kansas City closed to 4-1 in the fourth. After a walk and two singles loaded the bases with no outs, Emil Brown hit a run-scoring grounder. Bedard ended the threat by striking out Tony Pena with the bases filled.

Game notes
Brown's first RBI of the year came in his eighth game, ending his longest stretch to begin a season since 1997. ... Baltimore's Jay Gibbons went 2-for-4 and has five hits in his last two games after getting six hits in his first eight starts. ... Roberts got his first SB of the year; he had a career-high 36 last season. ... Kansas City has lost five straight in Baltimore since May 6, 2005.