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Call it an imperfect 10.
The Kansas City Royals’ losing slide reached double digits with a second consecutive loss to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night. Now they’ll turn their attention to trying to avoid a third consecutive series sweep in Thursday afternoon’s finale.
The 10th consecutive loss for the Royals came in a game in which they scored two first-inning runs on the road but ultimately fell 4-2 in front of an announced 7,133 at Comerica Park.
The Tigers (12-24) scored the last four runs of the game after the fast start by the Royals (16-19).
The Royals have lost four consecutive series and have a record of 1-11 during that stretch.
“There’s no lack of urgency, I can tell you that — 110 percent we are absolutely busting our butts out there,” Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy said. “It’s just not falling our way. It’s very frustrating. I’ve been through this before. Don’t like going through it, but we’re going to come out of it.
“When we lose a game, that whole squad feels like we just let a whole city down. So just keep in mind, we’re busting our butts. We’re going to keep riding. We’re going to keep going.”
The Royals last lost 10 consecutive games from March 31-April 11, 2019. Of course, that team hadn’t experienced any real measure of early success.
Conversely, this year’s club set high expectations during the offseason and spring training and followed that up with the best record in baseball in April.
The contrast only makes the recent slide more difficult to endure.
“The only cure for this is to win,” Duffy said. “It’s not one thing. This, that or the other. All we need to do is win. We’ve just got to win, and we’re going to do that. We’re going to go get it. We’re going to keep giving it our all and grinding. We know folks back home are bummed out with the way things are going right now, but we’re going to make sure that we stick together through all this and continue to ride out.”
Duffy (4-3) allowed a season-high four runs on seven hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out eight.
Salvador Perez went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI. He had two of the Royals’ three hits.
The Royals put the first two batters of the game on base and drove them both in to stake Duffy to an early lead.
Whit Merrifield got hit by a pitch and Carlos Santana walked against Tigers starter Casey Mize (2-3). Perez promptly smacked the first pitch he saw from Mize into left-center field for an RBI double. Then Andrew Benintendi’s sacrifice fly scored Santana as the Royals grabbed a 2-0 lead.
“We came out of the gate really well,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “It looked like we were going to make them catch us there. I love the way we came out of the gate offensively, taking advantage of the bit batsman, Salvy coming up big for us, situational hitting by Benny. Those are the kind of things we talk a lot about, kind of differentiate for us.
“But it’s a shame not to put much more against him even though we worked some deeper counts.”
Last month, the Royals scored six runs against Mize in 4 2/3 innings in a game at Comerica Park that featured a pair of home runs by Benintendi and Ryan O’Hearn off of Mize.
This time around, Mize worked his way through six innings and held the Royals to those two runs on four hits and two walks.
Royals hitters got to a full count against Mize seven times, but they drew just one walk to go with three strikeouts, two groundouts and a pop-up.
The Tigers got a run back in the second when Niko Goodrum walked, advanced on a fielder’s choice (he was initially called out but overruled upon review), advanced on a fly ball to center field and scored on a ground-ball single that rolled through the second-base hole vacated by an infield shift.
Miguel Cabrera’s RBI single in the third tied the score, 2-2, and moved Cabrera into a tie with Omar Vizquel for the most hits by a Venezuelan-born player in MLB history (2,877).
The Tigers took a 4-2 lead in the fifth after a Grossman lead-off triple followed by Jeimer Candelario RBI double and a Cabrera RBI single. Duffy hadn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his previous starts this season.
“When I got beat, I got beat with mistakes off-speed,” Duffy said. “That was frustrating. I just couldn’t finish my slider today. My curveball was really good. The changeup was good. We just ran away from the heater a little too much. That’s on me. I was shaking (off). It’s got to be better.”
The first three batters in the Royals lineup — Merrifield, Santana and Perez — accounted for six of the Royals’ eight base runners. The rest of the lineup went 1-for-20 with a single, a walk and a sacrifice fly.
“Yeah, there’s urgency,” Matheny said. “There’s not a guy in that room that’s going to sit here and tell you that they don’t understand that we’re in the middle of a bad run and feel like they really want to do something.”