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BOS@BAL: Ubaldo strikes out six in O's debut

The Royals' prize rookie will oppose the struggling prize of the Orioles' offseason when the clubs begin a weekend series on Friday at Camden Yards.

Hard-throwing right-hander Yordano Ventura will get the ball for Kansas City, hoping his fourth start of the season will be an improvement on his most recent outing. He'll be facing the Orioles, who will counter with right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, for the first time.

Ventura, noted for his blazing fastball that has been clocked at 102 mph, sometimes has trouble with his control when his right shoulder flies open during his delivery.

"He usually contains it for the most part," manager Ned Yost said. "His first couple starts, he didn't do it much. He'll do it on occasion; he just did it a lot more on his last start. But, again, that's going to be his issue."

Ventura lasted just four innings, allowing four runs on six hits and four walks in an 8-3 loss to the Twins on Sunday.

"I was open a little early, and the ball was away," Ventura said. "But I'm working on that."

The fastball isn't Ventura's only weapon; he also has an effective curveball and changeup. He got his first Major League victory on April 15 at Houston, holding the Astros to four hits in seven innings of a 4-2 win.

Jimenez, 30, is coming off a loss to the Red Sox in which he allowed three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. For his career, Jimenez is 4-2 with a 3.53 ERA against the Royals.

After signing with the Orioles this offseason, Jimenez is winless through his first four starts, three of which have been losses. Jimenez has made it as far as six innings only once.

Royals: Yards a fit for Gordon, Butler
It's out of their division, but Alex Gordon and Billy Butler usually enjoy their visits to Baltimore's Camden Yards. It fits their home run swings.

The left-handed-hitting Gordon likes to send shots soaring toward the warehouse over the right-field scoreboard. His eight home runs at Oriole Park in just 23 games and 95 at-bats are the most he has hit in any road ballpark, even in the American League Central division. He has a .295 career average at Baltimore.

Butler's right-handed swing has produced six homers, also in 23 games, at Camden Yards. He has had 93 at-bats there with a .323 average.

Mike Moustakas, the Royals' top home run hitter so far this year, has belted three in 10 games and 36 at-bats at Baltimore. Salvador Perez might be another Camden Yards fit. He has played just five games there, but he has two homers in 19 at-bats. He is expected back in the starting lineup on Friday night after getting a break on Thursday.

Orioles: Webb emerges as bullpen standout
With the Orioles' starters having some trouble consistently going deep into games, manager Buck Showalter has gotten a good look at his bullpen in the season's first few weeks. And one of the team's new additions, right-hander Ryan Webb, is becoming a regular fixture.

Webb has pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings on the Orioles' road stretch and has retired 17 of 19 batters he has faced since April 7. He allowed a combined four earned runs in his first two outings but has since made seven scoreless appearances, including pitching in three consecutive games entering Thursday.

"He's capable of doing both," manager Buck Showalter said of whether Webb, who recorded one out Tuesday and Wednesday, is more of a situational guy. "[He's capable] of doing more. But the situation called for it."

Webb, signed to a two-year contract as a free agent this winter, struck out the side Monday in Boston for the first time in his career. He is adjusting to the American League after coming from Miami and is developing into another potential late-inning guy for Showalter.

Worth noting
• Not many of the Royals have had success against Jimenez, but one who has is Eric Hosmer -- 8-for-22 (.364) with two home runs and six RBIs.

• The Royals' all-time record at Baltimore is 88-138, including 1-2 last year. They haven't had a three-game sweep there since 1998.

• Kansas City enters having dropped four of its last five. Before that, the Royals fired off five straight wins. Meanwhile, the Orioles took four of seven games against division foes during their recent road trip. Comments