DeJesus' effort can't save Royals
Four-hit night overshadowed by lost lead in sixth straight loss
DETROIT -- Royals manager Buddy Bell fielded questions before Tuesday's game about the ailing arms on his depleted pitching staff.The focus after the game might as well have been about when those arms can come back to help out the Royals. Relievers Joel Peralta and David Riske each gave up one run in the late innings as the Royals surrendered a 6-5 lead and lost their sixth straight game, 7-6, to the Tigers on Tuesday night at Comerica Park. "We've got to figure out our bullpen," Bell said. "We've got to find a better way. I don't know. [Peralta] is having a tough time getting people out. We just have to keep plugging away. I don't know what we'll do [Wednesday] in the same situation." Pitchers Scott Elarton, Luke Hudson, John Bale and Octavio Dotel are all on their way back from injuries. But they can do little to help the Royals now while the pitching staff continues to struggle. Tuesday's game rose their team ERA to 4.92. Riske, who is one of several de facto closers while Dotel rehabs from an oblique muscle strain, didn't help lower that ERA. He said he threw a decent pitch to Placido Polanco on the second baseman's game-winning single in the eighth inning. The problem came on the first two pitches, when Riske put Polanco in a 2-0 hitter's count. "As a reliever, you can't fall behind hitters," Riske said. "You've got to throw strike one, and I didn't do either of those." Bell, however, refused to make excuses for the Royals, even after they fell to 3-11, the worst record in the Majors. "We don't want to put ourselves in a hole where we can't see the end of the tunnel," Bell said. "There has been some encouraging stuff going on here in the last game and a half. When we put ourselves in a position to win, we've got to find a way." Most of those early-season losses came when the Royals struggled to score runs. Runs haven't been a problem lately, though. Kansas City has scored a combined 15 runs in its last three games. But the club has given up 25 over that same span. "It's just one of those things right now that it's a tough roller coaster, where we get some runs and then we lose it," said David DeJesus, who went 4-for-5 with his team-high third home run. "We always get some runs, and then it seems like the next half-inning, they put something on the board. "It's just really tough right now." At this point in the season, Bell said he couldn't make a judgment about the quality of his team. The injuries to his pitching make such judgments difficult, if not impossible. But both he and his players realize that something needs to happen -- and happen soon -- to avoid their fourth consecutive 100-loss season. "People say this game's supposed to be fun," Riske said. "Well, it's not fun at all when you're losing. I don't care what team you're on; I don't care who you are. "Things are going to click, but it's got to happen soon. We've got to kick ourselves in the butts and end this losing stuff. I'm obviously someone to blame. It's just not fun." Said DeJesus: "No reason to put our head down now. We've still got a long season ahead of us." And the season will seem even longer if the Royals continue to pitch without a full staff and can't find a way to snap out of their losing ways.
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.