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Stretch time: Royals seek another win streak

Yost says good starting pitching, clutch hits will turn tide
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- Just eight games ago, catcher Salvador Perez blasted an extra-inning home run to help complete an uplifting three-game sweep of the Mariners on the road that also put the Royals a season-high four games over .500.

Talk of the Royals selling their pending free agents had been replaced with spirited debates on social media on which areas that general manager Dayton Moore could fortify the team with via acquisitions before the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31.

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KANSAS CITY -- Just eight games ago, catcher Salvador Perez blasted an extra-inning home run to help complete an uplifting three-game sweep of the Mariners on the road that also put the Royals a season-high four games over .500.

Talk of the Royals selling their pending free agents had been replaced with spirited debates on social media on which areas that general manager Dayton Moore could fortify the team with via acquisitions before the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31.

View Full Game Coverage

But now, the Royals have dropped seven of eight games following Tuesday's night's 9-3 loss to the Tigers, and the "sell-sell-sell" snark has returned to Royals Twitter.

For the second straight game, a Royals starter got hammered on Tuesday. First it was Jason Vargas in a 10-2 loss on Monday to Detroit. This time it was Travis Wood, who gave up six runs.

Video: DET@KC: Wood gets Castellanos swinging

Before the game, Royals manager Ned Yost expounded on the streaky nature of his team.

"I never saw that in Milwaukee or in Atlanta," Yost said. "But this group, they got hot together and they get cold together. We get these streaky streaks one way or another. And now, we're in one of the bad streaky streaks."

The streaks usually have some common denominators, such as shaky starting pitching as Yost has witness the last two nights.

Video: DET@KC: Yost on Wood, lack of hitting

"We have to get our pitching reeled back in," Yost said. "We need a good start from Jason Hammel [on Wednesday against the Tigers]. We need a good start from a starting pitcher and clutch hits. That gets your momentum back in a positive fashion. That's what we need to do."

It hasn't helped, either, that the Royals' big four in terms of production -- Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Perez and Mike Moustakas -- has gone ice cold.

Video: DET@KC: Hosmer grounds a single to score Merrifield

That foursome has gone 15-of-74 (.203) on the homestand with no home runs.

"We got to start swinging the bats better," Cain said. "Speaking for myself, I got to start hitting."

Yost said he doesn't believe opponents are pitching that group any differently lately.

"I don't think so," Yost said. "It doesn't matter. When those guys are swinging the bats well, it doesn't matter, they will do their damage. But it's hard to maintain that type of production over a big period of time.

"Hopefully the down time will be a small sample size and then they get hot again. That's what we're hoping for."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

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