DETROIT | The short version Saturday night, viewed from the Royals’ perspective, is Luke Hochevar remained in a miserable rut. He gave up six runs and 12 hits before exiting without retiring a batter in the fifth inning and having already thrown 105 pitches.
That sort of start is tough to counter.
And, no, the Royals didn’t come close to overcoming Hochevar’s sins in meandering through a 10-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
Really, you can stop there. It only gets worse.
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Hochevar, 6-6, is living a nightmare right now. He is 0-3 in his last four starts while allowing 21 earned runs and 37 hits in 22 innings. Six of those hits are homers. His ERA has spiked from 4.84 to 5.73.
The Tigers hit a pair of homers against Hochevar. Ramon Santiago’s two-out blast in the second gave them a 3-2 lead, and Carlos Guillen’s two-run drive in the fifth knocked Hochevar out of the game.
Rookie catcher Alex Avila and Miguel Cabrera added homers against reliever Ron Mahay. The Tigers finished with 16 hits, including four by Cabrera and three by Guillen.
Detroit starter Edwin Jackson, 9-5, wobbled at times in yielding nine hits in six innings but limited the Royals to three runs. Bobby Seay and Brandon Lyon closed out a victory that dropped the Royals to 45-71.
That’s 26 games under .500 _ something the Royals haven’t experienced since closing the 2006 season at 62-100. They are also 17 games behind the first-place Tigers, whom they finished ahead of last season.
The standings further show the Royals are again five games behind fourth-place Cleveland in their quest to avoid a fifth last-place finish in six years. And they must go 18-28 or better in their remaining 46 games to avoid a fifth 100-loss season in eight years.
Still with me?
The Royals did hit two homers of their own against Jackson. Billy Butler boomed a two-run drive in the first inning that staked Hochevar to a brief 2-0 lead. (The Tigers answered with two runs in their first on four straight two-out singles.)
Brayan Peña homered with one out in the sixth after Detroit had stretched its lead to 6-2. Peña also contributed a single to the Royals’ nine-hit attack and raised his average to .326.
Mitch Maier also had two hits.
Mostly, though, this was a mess. The Royals got nothing from a two-on, no-out threat in the third inning or a two-on, one-out threat in the fourth.
But they saved their deepest futility for an excruciating fifth inning that began when David DeJesus tried to stretch a leadoff double into a triple. He was thrown out easily.
Singles by Maier and Mike Jacobs sandwiched a walk to Butler and loaded the bases for Alberto Callaspo, who bounced into a double play.
Jacobs was called out by umpire Joe West for going out of the baseline in an effort to avoid a tag by second baseman Placido Polanco.
That meant five players batted. The first four produced a double, two singles and a walk. And the Royals still got nothing.
To reach Bob Dutton, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.