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07/31/05 7:28 PM ET

Royals hit with fourth straight defeat

Offense held to one hit into eighth as Lima drops ninth

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Royals won't see the Devil Rays until next season, and chances are, they don't mind.

A 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field on Sunday completed a series sweep -- the 12th that the Royals have suffered this season -- and handed Kansas City its fourth straight loss.

The Royals were outscored, 29-13, in the series and went scoreless in 31 of its 36 innings. After giving up five runs in the sixth inning on Thursday, the Royals never held another lead.

"It's good to get out of Tampa," Royals Manager Buddy Bell said after the game. "Hard to believe these guys lost that many games when they are a good offensive club [and] they play good defense. It's hard to explain. They've got some talent, and they['ve] got some guys who can play."

Through seven innings, Rays starter Mark Hendrickson allowed just one hit -- a double by Emil Brown in the fourth.

"It was tough -- we couldn't get it together," said Royals outfielder David DeJesus, who went 0-for-3. "He was making speed, throwing the curveball, throwing strikes with it. We couldn't get a few hits together -- we only got one through [seven] innings."

Hendrickson lost his one-hitter in the eighth inning, and -- after Joe McEwing drove an RBI single and DeJesus sacrificed to left field to score John Buck -- the Royals cut the lead to 6-2.

But the Royals put up blanks in the ninth, striking out in their final two at-bats.

"We just didn't have anything for [Hendrickson]," Bell said. "We just didn't have very good at-bats today. [Hendrickson] was throwing the ball in, good cutter going, he was pretty good."

Hendrickson entered the game coming off two straight games against the Red Sox in which he pitched three combined innings and gave up 10 earned runs.

Bell, however, said the pitcher was no window of opportunity.

"I don't go into any Major League game thinking [we're] going to do anything to anybody," he said. "You just play your game. All Major Leaguers are top-of-the-line. I don't separate anyone. ... The reason this guy's in the big leagues is because at some point, he pitched pretty darn good."

Royals starter Jose Lima, who entered the game having won his last two starts, allowed three runs on six hits. His five strikeouts were his most in eight starts, but he walked a season-high five batters as well.

"[Lima] wasn't bad -- he just hung up a lot of pitches early," Bell said of Lima. "He got out of a few innings making some pitches. He wasn't bad."

Nevertheless, Lima never quite settled down, and walked two batters in the first inning. In the second inning, Tampa Bay's Travis Lee led off with a solo homer to right field on a 1-1 pitch.

In the fourth, Lima gave up a single to Pete LaForest, walked Joey Gathright, then allowed a single to Julio Lugo to load the bases. Carl Crawford hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score LaForest.

When Lima left in the sixth after giving up a double to LaForest, the Royals were down 2-0.

But the Royals bullpen, which leads the American League in strikeouts, could not stop Tampa Bay there, allowing two runs in both the sixth and seventh frames.

In the sixth, reliever Jeremy Affeldt gave up RBI singles to both Crawford and Jorge Cantu.

In the seventh, right-hander Leo Nunez followed by giving up an RBI single to Alex Gonzalez before left-hander Andrew Sisco let up a single to Toby Hall, scoring Johnny Gomes.

The series sweep comes after the Royals took two of three against the division-rival Chicago White Sox. Kansas City now heads to Fenway Park for a three-game series against Boston starting on Tuesday.

DeJesus said that the Royals will move on from the series sweep.

"Every game is important to us," DeJesus said. "When we're playing Boston, there's no magic, no tricks -- nothing like that. We're just going to go up there and play. We've got to go out there and do our jobs."

Jared S. Hopkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.