Putting on powder-blue uniforms for the first time in 17 years helped pull in the fans Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium but couldn’t rouse the Royals’ suddenly comatose attack in a 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
Boof Bonser and three relievers sent the Royals to a second straight shutout loss. The Royals haven’t scored in their last 26 innings — dating to the first inning of Thursday’s 6-1 loss to the Yankees.
The lack of offense meant the Royals wasted a solid outing from Brett Tomko, who fell to 1-1 despite allowing just two runs in six-plus innings.
The Royals, 6-5, now need a win today to avoid getting swept by the Twins and salvage a split on a six-game homestand that began so promisingly with successive victories over the Yankees.
Bonser, 1-2, yielded just three singles in six shutout innings before handing a 2-0 lead to the bullpen. Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek and Joe Nathan completed the shutout. Nathan recorded his fourth save.
The Royals managed just five hits, all singles, and fell to 1-4 this season against the Twins.
The powder blues and the promotional giveaway of a Billy Butler power-blue jersey helped draw a sellout crowd of 36,300 despite the harsh cold. They found little to cheer about.
The Royals haven’t worn powder-blue uniforms since 1991 and, before Saturday, had never worn them at home. Plans call for them to wear the powder-blue tops for every home Sunday, starting today, throughout the rest of the season.
The Twins used a Royals starter for target practice for the second straight game. Justin Morneau’s one-out liner in the fourth caught Tomko on the right shin.
Tomko recovered sufficiently to make a back-hand flip that dribbled toward first. Ross Gload recorded the out by stretching flat on his stomach to corral the ball while keeping one foot on the base.
Gil Meche took a liner off the left hamstring in Friday’s 5-0 loss to the Twins. He remained in the game and worked three more innings.
The Royals’ errorless streak also ended at 51 innings when shortstop Alberto Callaspo failed to handed Morneau’s short-hop grounder in the sixth. The club’s only other error came in the eighth inning April 5 at Minnesota when reliever Ron Mahay threw wide to first after fielding a bunt.
Tomko retired the first five hitters without the ball leaving the infield before Jason Kubel tucked a full-count offering inside the right-field pole for his third homer of the year and a 1-0 lead.
The Royals didn’t get their first hit until Gload’s one-out single through the left side. Alberto Callaspo had a two-out single, but Bonser stranded both runners by retiring Mark Grudzielanek on a routine fly to center.
Butler extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games with a one-out single in the sixth but got no farther.
The Twins extended their lead to 2-0 in the seventh after Grudzielanek couldn’t come up with Kubel’s grounder to the right-side hole. Brendan Harris followed with a hit-and-run single into right.
Denard Span’s sharp grounder into center scored Kubel and finished Tomko.
Nick Punto’s bunt single against reliever Ramon Ramirez loaded the bases before Ramirez struck out Carlos Gomez. Royals manager Trey Hillman then summoned Mahay, a lefty, to face switch-hitting Matt Tolbert.
Mahay stranded all three runners by retiring Tolbert on a pop to short and striking out Joe Mauer.
That kept the game close, at least.