Baltimore Orioles (22-18) at Kansas City Royals (20-21), 7:10 p.m. (ET)

The Sports NetworkMay 17, 2014 

(SportsNetwork.com) - Despite being just four games over .500 at the moment, the Baltimore Orioles find themselves in first place in the American League East as they clash with the Kansas City Royals in the third of a four-game set at Kauffman Stadium.

One game ahead of a New York Yankees squad that did not play Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates due to inclement weather, the Orioles picked up a 4-0 win for their second straight triumph after dropping four in a row. Designated hitter Nelson Cruz knocked in a pair of runs for the visitors, while Chris Davis crushed his third home run of the season.

On the mound, Chris Tillman went the distance for Baltimore as he allowed five hits, walked one, and struck out three for his fourth win in six decisions.

"I've been struggling a little bit recently," said Tillman. "We've been putting in a lot of hard work, not just me but everybody. It's good to see [the results]."

While Tillman reaped the benefits of his strong performance, the Royals again struggled as they lost their second in a row. In their last four defeats, the squad has generated a grand total of just two runs. Of the five hits registered by Kansas City, Norichika Aoki's double was the only extra-base hit.

"Right now, we don't have anybody that I can sit back and say, 'Boy, he's really swinging the bat well,'" KC manager Ned Yost said. "But it's amazing how quickly it can turn. It can turn like that and all of a sudden, the floodgates open for a week and you get on a bit of a run."

Starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie lasted eight innings, permitting four runs on eight hits.

Taking the hill for the Orioles this evening will be Bud Norris, as the sixth- year vet aims to even his season record at 3-3. The right-hander recently saw a two-game win streak come to an and when he came up short against the Detroit Tigers on Monday. The California native, who has yet to record a decision against Kansas City in his career, was touched for four runs on five hits and a couple of walks, while striking out seven over 7 2/3 innings.

Countering for the Royals will be Danny Duffy, a left-hander who also hails from the Golden State. Duffy's most recent outing took place on May 8 versus Seattle on the road when he suffered his third loss in as many decisions.

Against the Mariners, Duffy allowed just a single run on two hits and three walks, fanning four, through six innings of action. Now in his fourth major league campaign, the hurler is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in two career appearances versus the O's.

Kansas City, tied with the Chicago White Sox as both are seven games off the pace in the AL Central, is currently just one game over .500 in front of the hometown fans. On a more positive note, the Royals pitching staff is third in the AL in ERA with a collective 3.45.

Baltimore, which now leads the season series by a count of 3-2, won five of nine meetings with the Royals in both 2011 and 2012 before falling behind, 4-3, in the final count last season.

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