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Slide hits seven as Royals fall to Twins

Slide hits seven as Royals fall to Twins

KANSAS CITY -- An escape from the cellar. Three games over .500 since June 1. Things were going the Royals' way.

Now this.

Just as the Royals seemed poised for a spirited run to the finish, their fortunes turned and their seventh straight loss came on Tuesday night to the Minnesota Twins, 6-3, at Kauffman Stadium.

That matched the Royals' longest losing streak this year, seven games from May 24-30 -- back in the dark times. After that skid, the Royals went 43-40 until this latest slide began.

Manager Buddy Bell, on one hand, shrugs off the skid. On the other hand, he senses the danger.

"Everybody goes through this. It doesn't matter who it is," Bell said.

"The tough part for me right now is I don't want this to take away from anything we've done up to this point. And it will if we don't start playing better. That's the tough part right now."

None of the Royals wants to see the brakes go on a nice turnaround.

"We were playing well, but we've hit kind of a speed bump but we can't be down or we can't feel sorry for ourselves," third baseman Alex Gordon said.

"We've got to keep battling. We've only got a couple weeks left and we don't want to finish up that way, so we're going to try to get it turned around."

Gordon did his bit as 12,891 fans spent a pleasant evening alongside I-70. Gordon went 4-for-4 with two doubles and an intentional walk and his average reached a season-high .258.

Now he's got 33 doubles, matching the single-season rookie record set by Kevin Seitzer in 1987 and tied by Mark Quinn in 2000.

But other aspects of the Royals' game didn't go that well.

Two errors made things sticky for starter Kyle Davies.

Billy Butler, learning first base on the job, missed Joe Mauer's sharp ground ball in the first inning. Jason Bartlett, who opened the game with a walk and was running with the pitch, raced all the way home.

Jason Kubel walked and Mauer doubled to begin the sixth. Torii Hunter lined a sizzling single to left field, where Joey Gathright let the ball get away. Both runners scored, one attributed to the error.

All Davies moaned about, though, was himself.

"I have to eliminate the walks, especially leading off the innings. It's killing me, it's killing my pitch count, it's making me work too hard," Davies said.

"This game's not that difficult if you throw strikes. I'm making it a lot harder than it is."

All three of his walks were to the Twins' leadoff batter in an inning and two of them scored. Although Davies left after the first three batters in the sixth, he used up a whopping 98 pitches.

Even so, Bell liked what he saw.

"I thought this was the most compact Kyle has been since he's been here," Bell said. "He was really in control of his delivery."

Davies did concur with that point.

"Everything is down, down, down. My stuff is a whole lot better. It's just that leadoff walks make it very difficult," he said.

The Royals actually led, 3-1, briefly against Scott Baker, the Twins' right-hander who almost had a perfect game and almost a no-hitter against them in Minnesota. But it didn't last and once again old No. 63, the victory that means the Royals will avoid 100 losses, eluded them.

Also, just so you know, the loss mathematically eliminated the Royals from any chance of postseason play.

Let Butler strip things down to the basics.

"Nobody expects to lose seven games," Butler said. "We haven't been playing the way we should be. If there's a break, we're not getting it. Sometimes it goes that way. We've got to figure something out."

Let Bell size up just how serious things might be.

"I don't take this lightly. I don't think any of our guys do," Bell said. "We have to put the long season in perspective that we're going to have streaks like this. It's just really important how we come out of that streak."

Bell was ejected from the game in the seventh inning, the penalty for some apparently uncomplimentary opinions of home-plate umpire Larry Poncino's ball-and-strike judgments.

So Bell had some time to contemplate the losing streak.

"We've got [Gil] Meche going and [Brian] Bannister and Zack [Greinke] the next three days, so I expect things to turn around," he said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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