Royals' skid reaches 7 with 4-0 loss to Orioles
BALTIMORE (AP) The Kansas City Royals quietly packed their bags before heading for Chicago, hopeful that a day off and a different venue would help them end a humbling skid.
After losing four games in Cleveland, the Royals went 0-for-Baltimore, falling to the Orioles 4-0 on Wednesday night for their seventh straight defeat.
Kansas City has been outscored 42-8 during the losing streak, its longest since an identical run in August 2013. Over their last six games, the Royals have been limited to one run four times and been blanked twice.
''I know these guys are trying. They're just not being very productive right now,'' manager Ned Yost said. ''We've just got to keep working. Frustration does you no good.''
Orioles starter Chris Tillman allowed eight hits in 7 1/3 innings, striking out nine and walking none to earn his seventh straight win. The right-hander is unbeaten in 10 starts since April 14, 6-0 at home and tied for second in the AL in wins.
''He's the kind of guy the radar doesn't do justice to his fastball,'' designated hitter Eric Hosmer said. ''When he gets it up in the zone, it's hard to hit.''
Brad Brach got the final five outs to earn his second save and help the Orioles complete their first three-game sweep of Kansas City since May 2011. Baltimore has won four straight and seven of eight.
The Orioles took control with a four-run fifth inning against Edinson Volquez (5-6). Ryan Flaherty had the key hit, a bases-loaded double that broke open a 0-0 game. Adam Jones followed with a sacrifice fly and Hyun Soo Kim capped the uprising with an RBI single.
That was more than enough offense to down the sputtering Kansas City offense.
''It's very frustrating because I know we're all capable of playing a lot better,'' center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. ''We're all struggling. We have to find a way to get it going.''
The skid has dropped the defending World Series champions from first to third in the AL Central. After a day off in Chicago on Thursday, the Royals open a three-game series against the White Sox desperate for a win.
''It's definitely frustrating, especially with a good team like ours that hasn't dealt with this for a long time,'' Hosmer said.
The last time Kansas City lost seven straight was in August 2013.
Volquez was exceptionally sharp over the first four innings, retiring 12 of 13 batters and allowing just one hit. The trouble started after he got the first out in the fifth.
Two walks and a single preceded the key hit by Flaherty, who began the game batting .213.
There was no extension of the hostility created Tuesday night, when the teams emptied their dugouts in a fray that started when Kansas City's Yordano Ventura hit Manny Machado with a pitch.
Yost insisted Wednesday that Ventura was merely trying to throw inside, and the pitch simply ''got away'' from him.
''He's got a reputation that's always going to haunt him here,'' Yost said of the feisty Ventura. ''So any time something happens, he's going to be guilty right off the bat.''
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis was given the day off, his first of the season. Although Davis is in a 3-for-29 slump, manager Buck Showalter said the break was designed to allow some bumps and bruises to heal.
The Royals made an adjustment to their bench, calling up utility INF Christian Colon from Triple-A Omaha and optioning No. 3 C Tony Cruz to the same affiliate.
Royals: Yost said no one on the team was injured in the bench-clearing fray.
Orioles: RHP Yovani Gallardo (shoulder tendinitis) said he experienced ''normal soreness, nothing crazy'' after his second rehab start. If his bullpen session Thursday goes well, Gallardo could come off the DL and start Sunday in Toronto.
Royals: Ian Kennedy (4-4, 3.44 ERA) will seek his first win in six starts on Friday night in Chicago.
Orioles: Tyler Wilson (2-5, 4.39) starts in Toronto on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series against the defending AL East champs.