KANSAS CITY — Opposing teams had scored in the first inning against the Royals in five of the previous six games entering Wednesday. That trend continued when the Rays clipped starter Jason Hammel for three in the first en route to a 5-3 victory at Kauffman Stadium.
In that stretch, the Royals have given up 14 first-inning runs.
Manager Ned Yost said the stretch of early runs given up by his rotation is likely just one of the quirks of a long baseball season.
And with a punchless offense — the Royals are 13th in the American League in runs scored and 13th in home runs — the deficit has become too much to overcome. They have lost five straight and seven of eight.
Hammel, though, like Ian Kennedy the day before, overcame that shaky start and provided Yost some length. Hammel went six innings, permitting 10 hits and five runs. He walked none and struck out two.
After a solid start to the season, Hammel’s ERA has risen to 6.28.
Jon Jay had three hits and reached base four times for the Royals.