KANSAS CITY — With the Royals down a run and to their final out in Tuesday night’s game against the Tigers, Michael A. Taylor stepped to the plate in the ninth inning, knowing that if he could get on base, Adalberto Mondesi, activated off the injured list less than hour before the game started, was in the on-deck circle waiting for a chance to deliver.
Taylor got to two strikes in the first two pitches against lefty Gregory Soto, but then he fouled off seven pitches to keep the game going. On the 12th pitch, Taylor swung and missed on a middle-of-the-zone slider, ending the Royals’ 4-3 loss at Kauffman Stadium.
The slide and frustration continued for Kansas City, which has lost five straight and 10 in its last 11 games. The Royals were hoping to wash away a 1-6 road trip last week with a home series against the sub-.500 Tigers, but Detroit clinched its first series win here since July 23-25, 2018.
The script on Tuesday was similar to what the Royals have experienced before in this stretch: The Tigers got out to a 3-0 lead against starter Mike Minor, and while the offense was able to cut the deficit to one, the numbers jumped out in the box score: Five left on base and 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
After the Tigers knocked three consecutive singles for a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Royals put runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the first.
But Jorge Soler grounded into a double play.
“It was unfortunate we weren’t able to capitalize doing the exact same thing in the first to answer back right away,” manager Mike Matheny said. “That’s something we want to continue to make a big deal about. I know the way that they’re preparing, the way they’re doing the work, it is going to change.
“But right now, it’s just not happening. And it’s costing us.”
The Royals are stuck in a 3-for-43 rut with runners in scoring position, dating to the ninth inning on Thursday in Oakland. Their one run in such situations on Tuesday came in the seventh, when Jarrod Dyson doubled, went to third on Taylor’s flyout and scored on Nicky Lopez’s bloop single over shortstop Niko Goodrum’s head in shallow left field.