BALTIMORE (AP) — Bruce Zimmermann threw six effective innings and Baltimore Orioles beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2 to earn a doubleheader split on Sunday.
The Royals won the opener 6-4 when Michael Taylor hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth after a pair of two-out Baltimore errors.
In the second game, Zimmermann (2-1) allowed two runs and five hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
“That’s the No. 1 goal for all of the starters is to have a quality start, try to go six innings, and try to take the pressure off the bullpen every single night,” Zimmermann said. “I’m feeling really good about being able to go six innings today.”
The Orioles pounced early, scoring three runs in the first off Daniel Lynch (2-2) on a passed ball, an RBI single by Ryan Mountcastle and a sacrifice fly by Ramón Urías.
The Royals pulled to within 3-1 when Hunter Dozier hit a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Whit Merrifield.
Tyler Nevin added an RBI single in the fourth that boosted the Orioles’ lead to 4-1. Dozier cut the margin to 4-2 with a run-scoring single in the sixth.
Keegan Akin pitched two scoreless innings for the Orioles and Dillon Tate closed out the ninth to pick up his first save and fourth of his career.
Orioles outfielder Austin Hays went 5 for 7 over the two games and leads the team with nine multi-hit games.
“When he swings at strikes, he hits the ball,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Right now, I feel like he’s a little more patient, he’s getting in good counts and he’s taking some walks. He’s not trying to do too much.”
In the opener with the score 4-all, Jorge Lopez (3-2) retired the first two batters in the ninth. Nicky Lopez then reached when second baseman Rougned Odor misplayed a sharp grounder and took…