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Royals unable to keep pace with Jays' bats

MLB.com

TORONTO -- Wednesday's 15-5 loss to the Blue Jays was the eighth consecutive defeat for the Royals, who get a much-needed off-day Thursday before opening a four-game weekend series in Detroit with a doubleheader on Friday.

Starter Ian Kennedy was off to a hot start in 2018, but he had to battle through his five innings on 106 pitches Wednesday. Kennedy allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits and three walks while striking out six.

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TORONTO -- Wednesday's 15-5 loss to the Blue Jays was the eighth consecutive defeat for the Royals, who get a much-needed off-day Thursday before opening a four-game weekend series in Detroit with a doubleheader on Friday.

Starter Ian Kennedy was off to a hot start in 2018, but he had to battle through his five innings on 106 pitches Wednesday. Kennedy allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits and three walks while striking out six.

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Video: KC@TOR: Kennedy strikes out Granderson to start frame

"I was under 80 or 90 percent of my pitches tonight," Kennedy said. "Especially later in the game."

Mike Moustakas got the Royals on the board in the third with an opposite-field double that scored a pair. That extended Moustakas' hitting streak to 10 games, and he continues to be a bright spot in Kansas City' lineup. Over the past 10 games, Moustakas has gone 19-for-43 (.442) with four doubles, four home runs and 11 RBIs.

"He's swinging the bat really well," said manager Ned Yost, "really playing well. I think he's playing great defense, I think he's swinging the bat really well. He's just smoking the ball to all fields, down the third-base line, in the gaps."

Video: KC@TOR: Yost discusses Royals' early-season struggles

The Royals also allowed the Blue Jays to extend their lead in the later innings, something that has plagued their bullpen of late. After giving up a pair of hits on Tuesday, Kevin McCarthy allowed three runs in 1 2/3 innings after taking over for Kennedy.

Justin Grimm then allowed six runs on four hits, including a grand slam to Curtis Granderson. This was the fourth consecutive appearance in which Grimm has allowed multiple runs, and his ERA now sits at 18.90.

"We always like to try to get through the first month before we start making some changes," Yost said. "It definitely hasn't been very pretty."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Costly error: Paulo Orlando was charged with an error on Toronto's go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth. Randal Grichuk connected on a hard liner to left that got Orlando twisted around as he moved back toward the wall, but the catchable ball bounced off his glove and allowed Yangervis Solarte to score from second base. It also kept the inning alive for Luke Maile, who singled home another unearned run.

Video: KC@TOR: Solarte scores on Orlando's fielding error

Whit and run: Whit Merrifield hit his first home run of the season in the fifth inning, which brought the Royals back to a tie at 4 at the time. Jon Jay singled to right field before Merrifield connected on the 399-foot blast that Statcast™ measured at 103.9 mph off the bat.

Video: KC@TOR: Merrifield rips two-run jack, Duffy calls it

"Whit's Whit," Yost said. "Whit's always going to give you a great at-bat."

SOUND SMART
Kansas City's eight-game losing streak is its longest since last April, when the Royals lost nine in a row. They've allowed at least four runs in each of the losses.

HE SAID IT
"Pretty discouraged. When you lose a doubleheader, lose the way we did against the Angels, it's kind of discouraging. We all feel that way. It's not the start we all want." -- Kennedy

Video: KC@TOR: Soler crushes his first homer of the season

UP NEXT
Kansas City will play its second doubleheader of the week on Friday in Detroit, beginning at 12:10 p.m. CT. With four postponements already this season, Yost says that his team is still looking for "traction." Jason Hammel (pitching first and facing Michael Fulmer) and Jakob Junis (facing Daniel Norris) will both look to continue their strong starts in 2018.

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com.

Kansas City Royals, Ian Kennedy, Whit Merrifield, Mike Moustakas