The growing question now for the Royals, after Saturday’s lifeless stinker, is how bad can things get over the next five weeks?
It’s plenty grim now.
The Royals’ deepening skid hit seven games with this 4-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers when they managed exactly three hits against Zach Miner and two relievers.
That makes 14 losses in 16 games.
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That leaves them 19 games under .500 at 55-74.
That’s two games worse than last season through 129 games.
It didn’t make for much of a show for the crowd of 27,364 — a sellout in the construction-reduced seating configuration at Kauffman Stadium.
Kyle Davies returned from his weeklong exile to the minors by avoiding major problems throughout his six innings. But he allowed the leadoff hitter to reach in five innings and paid a price.
The Tigers scratched out runs in three of the first five innings on sacrifice flies before Miguel Cabrera opened the sixth with another booming home run. For Davies, the sum total of four hits and four walks was four runs.
That was plenty.
The Royals’ flat-lining attack never got much chance to show whether they gleaned anything for their pre-game work on getting better primary and secondary leads on the bases.
Miner, 7-4, broke a two-game personal skid by yielding just three singles and one walk in his seven innings. He struck out three and allowed just one runner to advance as far as second base.
No surprise, really.
Miner worked six scoreless innings July 21 in a 19-4 victory against the Royals at Kauffman. Those are the only two scoreless outings among his 24 career big-league starts.
Bobby Seay and Kyle Farnsworth closed out Detroit’s fifth straight victory in the season series, which represents a complete reversal. They Royals won the first six games with a pair of three-game sweeps.
That seems a long time ago.
The Tigers totaled nine hits, including three singles by Placido Polanco. But Cabrera provided the highlight with his 434-foot homer over the left-field fountains.
Cabrera’s 28th homer allowed him to reach 100 RBIs for a fifth straight season.
The Royals, in contrast, suffered their 10th shutout of the season. They have scored fewer than four runs 11 times in their last 16 games.
Davies, 5-5, pitched around a two-on, no-out threat in the first inning, but Gary Sheffield’s leadoff double in the second led to the game’s first run. Sheffield moved to third on Matt Joyce’s grounder to first and scored on Edgar Renteria’s sacrifice fly to left.
The Tigers cashed a leadoff walk in the fourth to Carlos Guillen with a wild pitch, a balk and a sacrifice fly by Joyce. A run without a hit.
Davies finally started an inning with an out when he made a nice play on Brandon Inge’s squibber in the fifth, but Curtis Granderson followed by drawing his third walk of the game.
That led to another run after Polanco bounced a single up the middle. Magglio Ordoñez produced Detroit’s third sacrifice fly with a drive to right for a 3-0 lead.
There was nothing soft or tainted about Detroit’s fourth run.
Cabrera led off the sixth with his second bomb of the series. The ball landed beyond the left-field fountains. He hit two homers Friday in Detroit’s 4-3 victory, including one blast that struck the netting in front of a car perched atop one of the sign boards at the back of the left-field fountains.