Why KC Royals’ bats went silent in Sunday’s series finale vs. Baltimore Orioles

The Kansas City Royals received a real test from the Baltimore Orioles this weekend at Kauffman Stadium.

The Orioles flexed their well-balanced attack throughout the three-game series, and the Royals proved up to the challenge ... until Sunday.

KC won Friday’s game and nearly pulled off a series victory Saturday night, but Baltimore delivered the final blow with a 5-0 victory in the series’ afternoon finale.

The Orioles (14-7) recorded nine hits against Royals starting pitcher Seth Lugo, including back-to-back home runs — the first allowed by Lugo this season — in the third inning.

It was Lugo’s first loss of the year. He pitched 5 1/3 innings and didn’t have his best command.

Meanwhile, the Royals were shut out by Orioles starter Cole Irvin. He allowed four hits over 6 2/3 innings for this first win of the season.

KC shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. finished 1-for-4 and first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

The Royals fell to 13-9 and will begin a four-game home series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.

Missed previous games of the series?

Game 1: Michael Massey returns as Royals cruise to 9-4 victory against Orioles

Game 2: Royals fall behind early in 9-7 loss to Orioles

Here are more notable aspects of Sunday’s game:

Seth Lugo falters in 5th start

The Orioles tagged Lugo with hard contact all afternoon. In the third inning, he allowed back-to-back home runs to Colton Cowser and Jordan Westburg.

The fifth homer for each player, the two solo shots gave Baltimore took a 2-0 lead traveling 430 and 433 feet, respectively. Per Baseball Savant, Cowser’s home run registered a 111.5 mph exit velocity off the bat.

Lugo threw 60 of 99 pitches for strikes. However, he generated just nine whiffs during his outing. The Orioles did damage on his four-seam fastball and sinker — Westburg, for instance, homered on a 92.4 sinker left over the middle of the plate.

Angel Zerpa relieved Lugo in the sixth inning. Lugo, who entered with a 1.05 ERA, failed to record a quality start for the first time this season.

Royals squander late scoring chance

The Royals had their opportunities to mount a comeback.

In the eighth inning, Royals third baseman Maikel Garcia worked a leadoff walk and then advanced to third base when Pasquantino singled off Orioles reliever Danny Coulombe.

That set the stage for Royals captain Salvador Perez at the plate.

Perez, who entered Sunday’s game hitting .342 this year, had a chance to pull the Royals within one run. He saw six pitches against Coulombe but was called out on strikes as the second out of the inning.

Outfielder Nelson Velazquez was summoned to pinch-hit, but he, too, struck out, ending the Royals’ threat. Instead of KC possibly scoring, the Orioles added an insurance run in the ninth inning.

What’s next on the KC Royals’ schedule?

The Royals begin a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.

Pitcher Brady Singer will start against Blue Jays southpaw Yusei Kikuchi at Kauffman Stadium. Singer owns a 2-0 record and 1.54 ERA through four starts this season.

This will be the first meeting between the teams this year. The Blue Jays have won six of their last seven against the Royals.