Royals 8, Orioles 2: Billy Butler belted a three-run homer and fell a single shy of the cycle as visiting Kansas City collected a season-high seven extra-base hits to cruise to its seventh win in 10 outings.
Alex Gordon homered to lead off the game and Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur ripped RBI doubles as the Royals jumped out to a 6-0 lead after three innings. Rookie Will Smith (3-4) tossed seven solid frames as Kansas City denied Baltimore in its bid for a season-high sixth straight victory.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was called up from Double-A Bowie prior to the contest and legged out a triple in his second at-bat. Machado, the third overall pick of the 2010 draft, went 2-for-4 and scored on Nick Markakis' sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to trim the Royals' lead to 7-1.
Matt Wieters homered for the third time in as many contests for the Orioles, who dropped a half-game behind idle Oakland and into a tie with Detroit for the second wild card. Baltimore also fell 5 1/2 games back of American League East-leading New York, which posted a 4-3 triumph over the Tigers earlier Thursday.
After Gordon opened the scoring, Butler gave Kansas City a 4-0 advantage in the first inning, drilling a fastball from rookie Wei-Yin Chen (10-7) three seats over the wall in left field. The blast was Butler's career-high 23rd this season - and third in Baltimore.
Staked to an early lead, Smith cruised through five innings before yielding Wieters' homer to lead off the sixth. Undaunted, Smith rebounded and finished strong, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out five.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Hall of Famer George Brett recorded Kansas City's last cycle in 1990. ... Butler legged out his first triple since 2009. ... Chen saw his modest two-game winning streak come to an emphatic end after permitting season highs in both runs (seven) and hits (nine) in 4 2/3 innings.