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04/12/08 11:55 PM ET
Royals' bats stay silent
Tomko solid, but KC can't find answer for Twins' Bonser
By Alan Eskew / Special to MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Even a revamped batting order could not help the Royals get out of their offensive doldrums Saturday night. The Royals collected just five hits, all singles, in being shut out, 2-0, by the Twins. The Royals have not scored in 26 innings and have lost three straight for the first time this season. "You always hope when you shake up the lineup that it does something for run production, and it didn't," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Is there anything else I can do? Yeah, keep the atmosphere positive, as good as possible, and not panic. Guys are pressing. We're going to hit again. We are going to score some runs again. "Hopefully, it's sooner than later, because one of the keys to a successful season is stopping losing streaks as quickly as possible. We need to create movement when we can. You've got to have base runners to do that, a little bit more than we've had in the last couple of days." The Royals had only one runner reach third base and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. "We had some opportunities we should have taken advantage of," Hillman said. "We need to put more hits on the board. We didn't square up pitches that we have the ability to square up. We've got more ability in our bats than we've shown in the last couple of nights. We've got a couple of guys that are searching a little bit. It's a combination of that to go along with seeing some pretty good pitching." Mark Teahen said "possibly" the hitters are trying to do too much. "I think anytime you're struggling offensively, you want to be the guy that kind of turns the tables," Teahen said. "I don't think guys are pressing necessarily, but we'll figure it out. We're a good offensive club. We'll score some runs. "You don't think Livan Hernandez and Boof Bonser are two guys that should really shut you down. They made their pitches, but when we've been given opportunities we really haven't capitalized on them." The Royals did not manage a hit off Bonser until the fifth, when Ross Gload and Alberto Callaspo singled. Mark Grudzielanek, however, flied out to shallow center to end the inning. In the third, the Royals had runners at the corners without a hit. Gload led off the inning with a walk and Joey Gathright advanced him to second with a sacrifice bunt. With two out, shortstop Matt Tolbert committed a throwing error, allowing Grudzielanek to reach first and Gload to go to third. Teahen struck out on three pitches to end the threat. "The first pitch was a good, hittable pitch, and then he spotted two pitches inside," Teahen said. "He might have outpitched me one at-bat. I'll give him one." Royals starter Brett Tomko suffered his first career defeat against the Twins, although he pitched well enough to win. He was 4-0 in six previous starts against Minnesota. Tomko took a Justin Morneau shot off his left calf in the fourth, but while on the ground managed to backhand the ball to Gload, who made a full stretch to get the out. After being checked out by members of the coaching and training staff on the mound, Tomko remained in the game. "It's pretty sore," Tomko said. "When I was moving around and trying to stay loose, it was all right. But after I was done, it tightened up pretty good. It will be interesting waking up tomorrow morning." Tomko said the Royals' recent lack of offense did not impact how he pitched. "You don't go into a game worrying about what we're going to score," Tomko said. "I try to follow my game plan and not worry about what we're doing on offense, because as soon as you start thinking about it, it might affect how you go out there and pitch. And the last thing you want to do is try not to give up any runs. Then you're getting out of what you need to do, and that's just make pitches. "It's not too frustrating. Those guys are trying. There are days we go out there and don't have our best stuff and we get it handed to us. It's a vicious cycle. Those guys will come around and start putting runs on the board." Tomko held the Twins to three hits and one run -- a Jason Kubel homer in the second -- for the first six innings. "Brett pitched very well," Hillman said. "He had a very good line and pitched through a very good contusion. He was very effective. He did what we wanted him to do, [and] that was pitch us deep into the game." Tomko gave up three straight singles to lead off the seventh and was pulled after Denard Span's run-producing single. It was not that the Twins hit Tomko that hard in the seventh. Kubel started the inning with an infield single. On a perfect hit-and-run play, Brendan Harris wormed a single to right through the area just vacated by second baseman Grudzielanek. Span's ground ball single up the middle scored Kubel and finished Tomko. "Two ground balls and guys on first and third, and then the base hit by Span [came]," Tomko said. "It could have very easily went a different way. That's how it is. I felt like my stuff was good and I was commanding to where I wanted to throw the balls, but it just didn't work out." Billy Butler singled in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games, but there were not enough hits for the Royals to pull this one out.
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.