BALTIMORE — The ball trickled up the third-base line, rolling so slowly that Baltimore third baseman Wilson Betemit could have counted the stitches.
Betemit hoped the ball would roll foul as it spun in the chalk. It stayed fair. And thanks to a good bit of hustle, Eric Hosmer ended up on second base with a 55-foot double that played a key role in Kansas City's 4-3 comeback victory over the Orioles on Saturday.
Hosmer went 3 for 4 with two RBIs to help the Royals make up a three-run deficit. He singled in the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning, but his swinging bunt in the seventh was no less significant.
With the Orioles up 3-2, Hosmer hit the slow-roller that turned into a unique two-base hit.
"Greatest double I've ever seen," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "That's a heads up play by Hosmer to be able to get to second base."
Humberto Quintero followed with an RBI double down the left-field line to make it 3-all.
"It's one of those things where you're just running down the box hoping it stays fair," Hosmer said of his hit. "To be honest with you, I kept shuffling, shuffling, and I realized I had a chance at second. I saw his back turned, so I just decided to take off."
Betemit committed himself to letting the bunt roll, a decision that did not pay off.
"I can do nothing about it. It stayed on the line," Betemit said. "I had to wait, fair or foul, and it stayed inside. I didn't have time to get the ball to second to get the out."
In the Kansas City eighth, Mike Moustakas led off with a single off Pedro Strop (3-2), who came in with 13 straight scoreless appearances. A walk and a single loaded the bases for Hosmer, who lined a single to left.
Greg Holland (1-2) pitched the seventh, and Jonathan Broxton got three outs for his ninth save in 11 chances.
Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy hit solo home runs for the Orioles, and Adam Jones extended his career-best hitting streak to 17 with a third-inning triple. It was only the second time this season that Baltimore lost a game in which it homered.
Kansas City closed to 3-1 in the fifth inning when Johnny Giavotella led off with a double and scored on a single by Hosmer.
Billy Butler homered off Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen in the sixth to make it 3-2.
Then came Hosmer's seventh-inning dash.
"Usually, when the ball comes off the grass there at our park it goes foul," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "The only thing you can do is line it up where your body is facing the runner as opposed to behind him so you can see. But I'd say a high percentage of time that ball rolls foul. That was another example where things just didn't go our way."
Kansas City starter Felipe Paulino gave up three runs, five hits and five walks in 5 2-3 innings. He allowed only one homer in four starts this season before surrendering two to the hard-hitting Orioles, who lead the majors with 72.
Davis staked the Orioles to a 1-0 lead with an opposite-field drive to left in the second inning. It was his eighth homer of the season and second in two games.
Later in the inning, Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson collided with left fielder Alex Gordon after Gordon caught a line drive for the third out. Dyson limped to the dugout with a right hamstring bruise and was replaced by Mitch Maier.
Yost said Dyson probably would not start Sunday. "He might be a little sore but I think he will be available to play," the manager said.
Hardy led off the third with this 10th home run, Jones hit a one-out triple and Matt Wieters followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
NOTES: Jones and the Orioles have reached agreement on a six-year contract through 2018, a deal worth about $85 million. The formal announcement will come Sunday. ... Kansas City snapped a 3-game skid. ... Baltimore fell to 6-2 on Saturdays. ... Kansas City's Jeff Francoeur went 2 for 4 and is 13 for 25 in his last six games.