Eight-run inning costs Royals

Baltimore Orioles' Vladimir Guerrero swings for a single during the second inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Baltimore.

Baltimore Orioles' Vladimir Guerrero swings for a single during the second inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Baltimore. Photo by The Associated Press.

BALTIMORE (AP) — An otherwise effective performance by Luke Hochevar was undone by one absolutely awful inning he won’t soon forget.

Hochevar yielded eight runs in the fourth inning, and that was more than enough to doom the Kansas City Royals to a 9-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.

Hochevar (3-5) went seven innings, five of them perfect. Except for the fourth inning, he faced only one batter over the minimum.

But that fourth inning was all anyone was talking about after the Royals’ fourth straight defeat.

“That was really, really bad execution by me in the fourth,” Hochevar said. “Everywhere I wanted to throw the ball, I just didn’t throw it there. There is really no excuse for it. I am a lot better than that. That was just really bad.

“I don’t think I ever have had a game where I had an inning that was that terrible.”

Baltimore sent 13 batters to the plate in the fourth against Hochevar, who yielded six hits, walked three and threw a wild pitch.

“I can’t explain it,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He got to where his command was off and he got behind in the count. It ballooned on him a little bit.”

To say the least.

“I felt good tonight. I just got in a funk and didn’t execute,” Hochevar said. “You just move on. You flush it. Nothing you can’t do anything about it.”

Double, single, RBI groundout. Walk, double, walk, single, walk, single, single.

The hits just kept on coming in the magical fourth, Baltimore’s most productive inning since an eight-run sixth June 26, 2009, against Washington.

“It’s kind of like sharks on a feeding frenzy,” said Luke Scott, who contributed an RBI double.

Jake Arrieta (6-2) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking three. He’s 2-0 against Kansas City this season and 5-0 in five starts against the AL Central.

Melky Cabrera homered for the Royals, who have lost nine of 11. Kansas City is 5-13 on the road, the worst record in the majors.

“You know, we’re not really playing bad,” designated hitter Billy Butler said. “We’ll snap out of it.”

Adam Jones led off the Baltimore fourth with a double, advanced on a single by Nick Markakis and scored on a groundout by Vladimir Guerrero. After Matt Wieters drew a walk, Scott doubled in a run and Wieters came home on a wild pitch.

J.J. Hardy followed with an RBI single, Ryan Adams walked and Felix Pie singled in a run. Jones followed with a two-run single, and after Markakis popped out, a throwing error by shortstop Alcides Escobar let in the final run.

Hochevar didn’t allow a runner over the next three innings, but the damage was done. In five career starts against Baltimore, the right-hander is 0-4 with a 7.98 ERA.

Cabrera homered in the fifth after a walk to Chris Getz to get the Royals to 8-2.

“You give up eight runs in one inning,” Butler said, “we got a little too far behind.”

Mark Reynolds connected for Baltimore in the eighth off Robinson Tejada.

Notes: After the game, the Orioles optioned IF Brandon Snyder to Triple-A Norfolk. C Craig Tatum is expected to be called up before today’s game. ... There was a moment of silence before the game for Paul Splittorff, the winningest pitcher in Royals history, who died of cancer Wednesday at age 64. ... Guerrero and Markakis have 10-game hitting streaks. ... Arrieta has surrendered a home run in seven straight games. He has given up nine HRs, tied with Jeremy Guthrie for most on the team. ... Cabrera has 15 RBI and has scored 11 runs in 19 games since May 3.

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