Royals’ trouble with RISP haunts them in loss

KANSAS CITY — Despite the four-run deficit starter Brad Keller put the Royals in to start Monday night’s game against the Tigers, they had every opportunity to close the gap in their eventual 10-3 series-opening loss at Kauffman Stadium.

They just couldn’t capitalize.

The Tigers had two pitchers leave with injuries, including starter Matthew Boyd’s 2 1/3-inning outing due to left arm discomfort. They sent nine pitchers to the mound and had an already exhausted bullpen. It was worked hard Monday, too: The Royals had at least one runner on base in every inning and put two or more on base in every inning except the first. They outhit the Tigers 14-12 but were outscored by seven runs.

Of those 18 baserunners, only three scored. The Royals left 13 on base and were a mere 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Twice, they loaded the bases but couldn’t push more than a run across. In the fifth inning, Whit Merrifield scored on Salvador Perez’s single, and Kansas City loaded the bases with one out — thanks to a double from Jorge Soler and a walk from Hunter Dozier — only to watch Kelvin Gutierrez strike out swinging and Edward Olivares sharply ground out to second base.

In the sixth, the Royals pushed a run across on Soler’s bases-loaded walk, but Dozier popped out to shallow right field to end the inning.

Kansas City entered Monday having hit just .172 (10-for-58) with runners in scoring position in its last nine games. It has now lost nine of its last 10 and scored three or fewer runs in eight of those 10.