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KC@CLE: Shields goes six, allows two runs, fans nine

James Shields since joining the Royals last year has been a highly successful pitcher on the road with 11 victories in his last 12 decisions. So Baltimore should fit right in with this trend.

Sunday's game will be the first time that Shields has pitched at Camden Yards in a Kansas City uniform, but he was 6-2 in 12 starts at the ballpark while with Tampa Bay. His ERA in those games was 3.92.

"I've had success here, but I've also had a couple games where I haven't been very good at all," Shields said. "I don't really read too much into that. That's a good ballclub over there. They have some new guys over there that are going to be tough to face and I haven't faced before. It's definitely going to be a challenge."

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, who is heading to the disabled list with a left oblique injury, played a memorable part of Shields' last start against the O's.

That was on Oct. 2, 2012, which was Shields' last game for the Rays. Shields lost, 1-0, at Tropicana Field as Davis crushed a home run.

"I remember that. I think I got him out every other time, though. But I gave up only one or two hits and lost the game," said Shields, who also struck out 15.

Shields is another strong arm the Orioles will see in the rubber game after Yordano Ventura and Jeremy Guthrie started the first two games of the series.

"I think Kansas City is one of the better teams in the American League. They are really good," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "From top to bottom, they have the best pure arm strength pitching staff in baseball. Its soft tossers are at 94, 95 [mph]. They've got some big arms."

Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez has faced the Royals just twice previously, going 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA. In his only start against them last year, he gave up six runs in just 4 2/3 innings and took the loss.

This year, Gonzalez has really struggled to go deep into games, recording just one quality start. He's not alone in the Orioles' rotation, but he was unusually frustrated after his last loss in Toronto on Tuesday night.

"Yeah, it bothers me because as starters we want to go as far as we can to keep our bullpen fresh," said Gonzalez, who went 5 2/3 innings. "That just didn't happen, and I wasn't too happy about it."

Gonzalez didn't get hit around, but the right-hander couldn't give the Orioles the innings they badly needed and he will try to rectify that on Sunday against the Royals.

Orioles: Davis heading to DL
The Orioles will put All-Star first baseman Davis on the disabled list after the results of Saturday's MRI revealed a left oblique strain that's more serious than the club originally had hoped.

"It's kind of crazy, because I don't feel terrible," said Davis, who exited Friday's game after four innings and was optimistic he'd avoid the DL. "I've never had anything like this before. I figured it would just be a few days and then we'd forget about it."

Outfielder Nick Markakis took Davis' place at first base on Saturday, just his third start at that position, and delivered a single in the 10th to give the O's a 3-2 walk-off win to even the series.

The Orioles recalled Jemile Weeks to help with the infield depth and he was the starting designated hitter on Saturday.

Royals: Skull sessions go individual
Like most clubs, the Royals used to have group meetings of their pitchers and their hitters to go over the opposing team on the first day of a series.

Not anymore.

"We do that individually now," manager Ned Yost said. "It's too hard to keep their focus and attention. So we do it individually, it works better."

Worth noting
• Jarrod Dyson, likely to be back in center field for the Royals on Sunday, is 4-for-4 against Gonzalez.

• Orioles catcher Matt Wieters' throwing error on Friday night broke his streak of 99 straight games without a miscue.

• The Royals' Danny Valencia and the Orioles' David Lough, both in the starting lineups on Saturday night, were traded for each other last Dec. 18.

• Davis, by leaving Friday night's game 0-for-2, had his career-best streak of 20 straight games reaching base snapped. Comments