ST. LOUIS -- Another day in which a Royals starter couldn't hold an opponent down. And another day in which the offense couldn't put up much of a fight.The Royals dropped their third straight, this time to the Cardinals, 6-0, on Monday night in the I-70 Series opener at Busch
ST. LOUIS -- Another day in which a Royals starter couldn't hold an opponent down. And another day in which the offense couldn't put up much of a fight.
The Royals dropped their third straight, this time to the Cardinals, 6-0, on Monday night in the I-70 Series opener at Busch Stadium. Kansas City has lost eight of nine, and at 14-33 just past the quarter pole, is on pace for 114 losses, which would shatter the club record of 106 in 2005.
Right-hander Ian Kennedy was cruising through 2 2/3 innings when the Cardinals suddenly struck for five hits and four runs. The big blow came from rookie Tyler O'Neill, who jacked an opposite-field three-run home run off a Kennedy four-seam fastball.
"One big inning cost me a ballgame," Kennedy said. "O'Neill, I mean, I didn't know he had that pop the other way. Threw another good pitch off the plate and in that he got for a double [in the fifth inning]. He's a good young player."
Kennedy was effective after that and lasted 5 2/3 innings, permitting nine hits and five runs. He walked one and struck out five.
"Two quick outs in the third and just couldn't get that last out," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But outside of trying to get that third out, he was pretty darn good. He made a little minor adjustment and was pretty good."
The Royals were no match for Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas, who breezed to a four-hit shutout.
"He's got good stuff," outfielder Jonathan Jay said. "That slider/cutter was tough. He made good pitches. [The cutter] had good action.
"For a lot of these guys it's the first time seeing him. He pitched a good game. You tip your hat to him."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The Royals had a promising start to the third inning. Kennedy lined a sharp single to right, though he had to hustle at the end to avoid a 9-3 putout. Jay followed with a single to left-center. But as has so often been the case, the next hitter, Jorge Soler, jumped at the first pitch and rolled into a 5-4-3 double play. The Royals now have hit into a Major League-leading 51 double plays.
"We had an opportunity in the third and of course we bang into a double play," Yost said. "I think that's the 22nd time we've hit into a double play with runners in scoring position."
Kennedy's single was the Royals' first hit by a pitcher since Danny Duffy singled on July 9, 2017.
HE SAID IT
"It starts with us as starting pitchers. When we put ourselves in holes like that, it's hard. When you keep your team in the ballgame, it's a little easier for us to grind some at-bats later in the game, maybe come back a little bit. But when you give up a four-spot, I would imagine it affects the hitters a little bit because now they feel like they have to grind a little bit more. It's not just one or two -- it's four [runs]. It starts with us. We've given up big innings as starters." -- Kennedy, on the Royals' recent woes
Royals right-hander Jason Hammel (0-5, 6.28 ERA) will take the mound in the second game of the I-70 Series at 7:15 p.m. CT on Tuesday at Busch Stadium. Right-hander Luke Weaver (3-3, 4.37) will start for the Cards. Hammel gave up five runs and 10 hits over six innings last time out on Wednesday against the Rays.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.