Kowar shakes off tough 1st against O’s in loss

BALTIMORE — It wasn’t the start that right-hander Jackson Kowar wanted, but he made the most of it.

After falling behind early on a pair of two-run homers, Kowar rebounded to retire 12 of the last 14 batters he faced in the Royals’ 7-3 loss to the Orioles on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

Kowar threw 105 pitches, logging a career-high seven strikeouts. The key for Kowar, according to manager Mike Matheny, is his fastball. If Kowar gets his fastball working, then his changeup and slider work well behind it to get strikeouts.

In his previous outing on Wednesday against the Indians, Kowar struck out six — including five K’s on his changeup.

Even though both of the O’s homers, plus their two other RBI knocks (a pair of singles in the first inning), came on either Kowar’s changeup or slider, so did the majority of his strikeouts. After recording a strikeout in the first off his fastball, a pair of strikeouts in the second, one off his fastball and one off his changeup, Kowar retired three batters in a row with strikeouts off his changeup to get out of the third.