KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 27 (UPI) -- Tony Batista homered twice and knocked in five runs Saturday night, foiling Paul Byrd's bid to become the American League's first five-game winner and carrying the Baltimore Orioles past the Kansas City Royals, 9-4.
Batista got the Orioles off to a good start, hitting a three-run homer off Byrd in the first inning. He added a two-run shot off Nathan Field in the eighth, giving Baltimore a 7-3 lead.
A journeyman righthander, Byrd (4-1) was the first Royals starter to win his first four decisions since Bret Saberhagen won his first six in 1987.
But Byrd, who tossed a shutout five days ago against Detroit, was roughed up for five runs and five hits over seven innings Saturday. He struck out four and walked two -- his first walks this season.
Geronimo Gil added a two-run homer for the Orioles, who have won six of their last eight games following a 4-11 start.
Orioles starter Sidney Ponson (1-3) won for the first time in 15 starts dating to June 28. The righthander allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings, walking three and striking out six.