BALTIMORE — Jeremy Guthrie's incentive to win had nothing to do with beating his former team.
The right-hander was far more interested in helping the Kansas City Royals maintain the momentum they generated during the first five weeks of the season, and in that regard, his outing against the Baltimore Orioles was a success.
Guthrie allowed one earned run in six innings, and the Royals hit a season-high three homers in a 6-2 victory Thursday night.
Facing the Orioles for the first time since they traded him to Colorado in February 2012, Guthrie (5-0) gave up seven hits and three walks while lowering his ERA to 2.28.
During his five seasons with Baltimore, Guthrie won 47 games and started three times on opening day. In his return to Camden Yards, his focus was entirely on helping the Royals end a three-game skid.
"I was just trying to win the game," Guthrie said. "We had a nice April and we're trying to stay consistent here and compete against good teams."
And pitching against Baltimore?
"I think someone else put it this way: We've turned the page," Guthrie said.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said exactly that.
"I didn't pay much attention to that part of it," Showalter said. "We've kind of turned the page."
After going 3-9 with Colorado, Guthrie has been a star for the Royals since his arrival last July. He's 10-0 since Aug. 8 and has gone a franchise-record 18 straight starts without a loss. This outing was more of the same.
"I executed a few pitches, made a couple mistakes," he said. "But our offense did what we've been doing all year when I've been out there — score big runs, tack on a couple of extra ones."
Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer both connected against Freddy Garcia (0-1) with a runner on in the fourth inning to put Kansas City up 4-0. It was Gordon's third home run in three games and Hosmer's first in 145 at-bats dating to last year.
Mike Moustakas homered in the seventh to make it 5-2. The Royals came in with an AL-low 19 home runs, so the three long balls served as a rare power surge.
"We broke out and hit some homers," manager Ned Yost said. "(Hosmer) got on the board with a homer. Alex is swinging the bat really well. And Moose did a great job, left-on-left, hitting a slider. Good to see that."
Chris Davis homered for the Orioles, whose season-high run of four straight wins ended. It was the fourth time this year that Baltimore missed a sweep by losing the final game of a series.
Making his second start with the Orioles, Garcia gave up four runs, five hits and a walk in six innings.
"I felt pretty good," the right-hander said. "One bad inning, two bad pitches. I was behind in the count to both hitters and I gave up two home runs, five runs. I was trying to do my best and tried to keep the guys in the game. That's all I can do."
Baltimore got an unearned run in the second inning, courtesy of shortstop Alcides Escobar's third error in two games. After Escobar's poor throw enabled Adam Jones to reach first, Matt Wieters singled and J.J. Hardy drove in a run with a bloop single to center.
It was the first time in three starts that Guthrie gave up a run. He was coming off his first career shutout, a four-hitter against the White Sox
Garcia retired the first 10 batters he faced, a streak that ended when Lorenzo Cain got an infield single with one out in the fourth. Gordon followed with a shot over the right-field scoreboard, and after Billy Butler singled, Hosmer hit an opposite-field drive into the left-field seats — his first homer since Sept. 11.
"It was definitely a sigh of relief," Hosmer said. "I knew it was a pretty long time. I wasn't too worried about it. I just wanted to stay with my approach and try to stay through the middle and not miss good pitches."
Davis got the Orioles to 4-2 in the bottom half with his 10th home run.
Moustakas greeted rookie reliever T.J. McFarland with a leadoff homer in the seventh. Moustakas also homered on Wednesday night.
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed for 31 minutes while the grounds crew waited for a shower that never arrived. ... The Orioles placed RHP Miguel Gonzalez (thumb) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled RHP Alex Burnett from Triple-A Norfolk. Burnett made his Baltimore debut in the eighth inning ... The Royals traded 3B Brandon Wood to Baltimore for cash. Wood, who was playing for Triple-A Omaha, will report to Norfolk. ... Baltimore leadoff hitter Nate McLouth has reached safely in 21 of his last 26 starts. ... Baltimore sends Jason Hammel (5-1) to the mound Friday night for the opener of a three-game series in Minnesota. The Royals head home for three games against New York. ... Steve Johnson will come off the disabled list and start for Baltimore on Saturday, Showalter said.