Marsh masterful for Royals in win over Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Alec Marsh pitched seven innings of two-hit ball, Maikel Garcia drove in three runs and the Kansas City Royals breezed past the Baltimore Orioles 4-1 Tuesday night at wet and chilly Camden Yards.

Marsh (1-0) turned in the best performance of his budding career, dominating the defending American League East champions. He struck out 5, walked 1 and retired the side in order 5 times.

"He was outstanding," Royals Manager Matt Quatraro said of Marsh. "Adverse conditions to pitch in against a really good lineup, and he did nothing but attack, right from the get-go."

Now in his second season, Marsh previously hadn't gone more than six innings and never allowed fewer than three hits in any outing longer than an inning. In this one, the right-hander threw 72 pitches, only 18 of which were called balls.

"You couldn't ask for anything more," Quatraro said.

Marsh received offensive support from Garcia, who hit a two-run double in the second inning and added an RBI triple in the fourth.

A persistent, light rain soaked the players and the announced crowd of 9,404. Temperatures dipped into the 40s soon after the game started, and a crisp breeze provided the stouthearted fans additional discomfort.

The Orioles gave their supporters little reason to cheer. Baltimore's only run came in the third inning on successive doubles by Jordan Westburg and Colton Cowser, but that only served to cut the deficit to 3-1.

Kansas City answered in the fourth with a walk and a triple by Garcia on a liner off the right-field wall. That was more than enough backing for Marsh, who earned the fifth spot in the Royals' rotation with a strong showing in spring training.

As a rookie in 2023, Marsh lost his first eight decisions before ending up 3-9 with a 5.69 ERA.

The solid finish, along with his productive spring, gave Marsh some momentum heading into the 2024 season.

"He's been on a mission," Quatraro said. "That's one game. We don't want to proclaim this to be a finished product. He's a very young pitcher in his big league career, but there's a lot of upside and we're excited about it."

When the Orioles got good wood on the ball, there always seemed to be someone there to catch it.

"Good fastball, curveball had a lot of depth on it," Baltimore's Ryan O'Hearn said. "It was one of those nights. I feel like we had a lot of balls hit right at guys. Sometimes it happens that way."

After Marsh put in his seven innings, the bullpen finished up without incident. John Schreiber gave up a single in the eighth and Will Smith got three straight outs for his first save.

RAYS 5, RANGERS 2 Zach Eflin took a shutout into the seventh inning, Isaac Paredes hit a three-run homer in a four-run fifth and host Tampa Bay beat Texas. Eflin (1-1) allowed three of his five hits and a lone run in the seventh, then was removed after Jonah Heim's one-out RBI single. Heim also had a two-out run-scoring single in the ninth off Pete Fairbanks, who retired Leody Tavares on a game-ending flyout with with two on.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

CUBS 12, ROCKIES 2 Cody Bellinger, Seiya Suzuki, Christopher Morel and Garrett Cooper eachhomered as host Chicago pounded Colorado for its third straight win. Bellinger's two-run drive off the right-field scoreboard at Wrigley Field was his first homer of the season. Cooper hit a three-run shot in the sixth that gave Chicago a 10-0 lead. He also doubled and tripled in his first home start with the Cubs.

INTERLEAGUE

BREWERS 3, TWINS 2 Jackson Chourio singled in a run in his first American Family Field plate appearance, Christian Yelich homered and host Milwaukee beat Minnesota Twins to open a season with four straight wins for the first time since 2006. Milwaukee is 4-0 for the fourth time after winning its first 13 games in 1987 and its first five in 1978 and 2006. Brice Turang went 2 for 3 with an RBI single, improving his batting average to .500 (7 for 14).

ANGELS 3, MARLINS 1 Tyler Anderson pitched seven scoreless innings, Aaron Hicks homered and Los Angeles beat host Miami, sending the Marlins to their worst start in franchise history. Anderson (1-0) scattered 4 hits, walked 2 and struck out 5. Bryan De La Cruz homered in the ninth inning for the Marlins, who lost their sixth straight game to start the season.

WHITE SOX 3, BRAVES 2 Garrett Crochet allowed 1 run and 3 hits over 7 innings in his second professional start, pinch-hitter Paul DeJong had a tiebreaking homer and host Chicago got its first win by beating Atlanta.

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