Montgomery battles an atypical issue vs. O’s

BALTIMORE — If there’s one thing Mike Montgomery has excelled at in his career, especially entering this season, it’s been keeping opponents from hitting him too hard. Each of the last two seasons, spent primarily as a reliever, the lefty has not just been above average in inducing soft contact but usually north of the 70th percentile compared to counterparts around the league.

That type of ability is what made Montgomery an attractive return for Martin Maldonado back in July. Until Wednesday night, when he had a glaring stumble for the first time in Royals blue, Kansas City had gotten what it traded for.

Montgomery was tagged for a career-high three homers in the Royals’ 8-1 loss to the Orioles. He had only yielded two homers four times in his career — three of which came with the Mariners in 2015, one three starts ago with Kansas City — and entered Wednesday with just four homers in 29 1/3 innings since switching teams — a home runs per nine innings mark of 1.22.

The Royals’ only offense came via a solo homer by Whit Merrifield — his 15th of the year — to lead off the third inning.