KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Whenever the Adam Jones tells Buck Showalter something is wrong, as he did after crashing into the outfield wall on Thursday, the Baltimore manager listens just a bit more closely.
"You'd better multiply it times two," Showalter said, "because he's a tough nut."
Jones was hurt in the first inning of the Orioles' 5-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals when he came up short of tracking down a fly ball. The All-Star bounced off the wall and onto the warning track, where he lay for several minutes before eventually finishing the inning.
When he was back in the dugout, though, Showalter knew something was amiss. Jones left the game with whiplash, though X-rays on his neck and wrist came back negative. He will be evaluated again when the Orioles get to Texas on Friday.
"He feels a lot better now than he did," Showalter said.
Yordano Ventura struck out a career-high 11 in just six innings, and Paulo Orlando homered as the Royals kept Baltimore from winning back-to-back games for the first time in weeks.
Ventura (9-7) allowed two hits and four walks to improve to 5-0 in his last seven starts.
"There's been a lot of work put in preparing to get better," Ventura said with catching coach Pedro Grifol serving as a translator. "I feel like this was one of my better outings."
The Royals' usually solid bullpen nearly gave it away, though. Kelvin Herrera served up a homer to Ryan Flaherty in the seventh, and Greg Holland allowed two more runs in the ninth before getting Gerardo Parra to ground out with a runner on to end the game.
Chris Tillman (9-9), who tossed a five-hitter at Kauffman Stadium last May, followed his first loss since May 31 with another. He allowed four runs over six innings.
Orlando also contributed a sacrifice fly for the Royals, while hot-hitting Mike Moustakas drove in a pair of runs and Salvador Perez had an RBI single
"Made some mistakes that they were able to hit the ball hard and drive," he said, "but for the most part I feel like we had a lot of soft contact and kept the ball on the ground."
The AL Central-leading Royals took three of four in the series, and have won 10 of their last 11 against the Orioles. Baltimore, which began the day two back of the final wild-card spot, still has not won back-to-back games since sweeping Oakland earlier this month.
The start of the game was delayed by 1 hour, 35 minutes, as a storm rolled through.
Then, Ventura followed up the thunder with some lightning of his own, an assortment of fastballs that nipped at triple digits and kept the slumping Orioles flailing.
The first five outs Ventura recorded were punchouts, and he later struck out Matt Wieters to leave runners on second and third. Ventura eventually surpassed his career-best of 10 strikeouts set last May by fanning Wieters for the third time with a 99 mph fastball.
"Any time you lose it's disappointing," Tillman said, "but these guys threw the ball well all series, and I think their lineup speaks for itself. They've got a great lineup, they battle and they wait until the pitcher makes a mistake, and they did that pretty much the whole series."
STATS AND STREAKS
The Royals have won eight straight series at home. ... Flaherty's homer snapped Herrera's streak of 18 1-3 scoreless innings against the Orioles. ... Janish had a pair of hits, the first time he's had a multihit game since Sept. 4, 2013, with Atlanta.
Orioles: Jones walked in his only plate appearance before leaving the game. "He's had a couple of injuries this year. He plays the game hard," Tillman said. "If he plays tomorrow, he'll do the same thing. You know how Adam is. As a pitcher you appreciate it, but you kind of have a moment there to think about it, and it's scary, it really is."
Royals: CF Lorenzo Cain and 1B Eric Hosmer got a day off from the starting lineup as manager Ned Yost tries to keep key players fresh. Hosmer pinch ran in the seventh and stayed in the game.
Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman opens a three-game set Friday night at Texas.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez starts a three-game series Friday night at Tampa Bay.