Gunnar Henderson had three hits, stole two bases and scored a run for the Orioles, who have won two straight for the first time since May 24-25. Coming off a victory at Milwaukee, Baltimore never relinquished the lead after Hays’ leadoff shot inside the left-field foul pole.
“I’ve been in that situation before when you give up a first-pitch homer,” Wells said. “It’s kind of one of those things where it’s like, ‘I feel for ya,’ but I’m happy it’s on my side.”
Hays also doubled and scored in the fifth.
“Austin Hays had a real nice night,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He got us on the board early. That was great to see. He really sparked us tonight at the top of the order.”
Wells (5-2) allowed two runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out four and walking one. The 6-foot-8 righty was lifted with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh with the score 3-1.
“He had a little trouble getting thought that seventh, unfortunately, but I thought he was absolutely excellent tonight,” Hyde said.
Mike Baumann threw a wild pitch to let in a run before striking out Nicky Lopez.
Baltimore then turned to its potent 1-2 punch out of the bullpen to seal the victory. Yennier Cano worked a scoreless eighth to lower his ERA to 1.06 and Félix Bautista got three straight outs in the ninth for his 17th save.
It was the seventh loss in eight games for the Royals, whose 18-45 record is second-worst in the majors next to Oakland.
Seeking his first win in 14 starts since last Aug. 1, Lynch (0-2) gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings. It was his third start of 2023 following a lengthy stay on the injured list with a rotator cuff strain.
“I thought it was positive,” manager Matt Quatraro said of the outing. “His breaking ball had some good shape to it, he threw some good changeups, his fastball had some life.”
Play was stopped for several minutes while umpires went to the replay to determine if the count to Hays was 3-0 or a four-pitch walk, as indicated by the scoreboard. The ruling was that Hays had only seen three pitches, and he ended up popping out.
Royals: Placed OF Edward Olivares on the restricted list and recalled INF/OF Nate Eaton from Triple-A Omaha. Regarding Olivares, Quatraro said, “He has a personal thing to take care of today. Expecting him back (Saturday).”
Orioles: Recalled LHP Nick Vespi from Triple-A Norfolk and optioned LHP Bruce Zimmermann to Norfolk.
Royals: 1B Vinnie Pasquantino left the game with a shoulder soreness. “We’re going to have to see how he bounces back after some treatment,” Quatraro said. “He’s just a little tender.”
Orioles: 1B Ryan Mountcastle missed a second straight game with an illness. “He’s just not feeling real good,” Hyde said.
Royals: RH Brady Singer (4-4, 6.45 ERA) starts Saturday in the second game of the series. In his only previous appearance against Baltimore, he allowed seven runs in two innings on July 17, 2021.
Orioles: LH Cole Irvin (0-2, 10.38) will be recalled from Norfolk on Saturday to make his first start in the majors since April 13.
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