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Royals looking to provide opportunity knocks

Royals looking to provide opportunity knocks

KANSAS CITY -- Over a nine-game stretch going into Wednesday night's game against the Braves, the Royals' 3-6 record was reflected by a corresponding inability to hit with runners in scoring position.

Their average with RISP in that period was .182 (14-for-77). A low point came in Tuesday night's game, when in the ninth inning with the tying run at third and none out, the Royals couldn't put the ball in play. Elliot Johnson and Jarrod Dyson both struck out. The opportunity fizzled and the Braves won, 4-3.

"We're not looking for three-run homers. We're looking to put the ball in play and make something happen," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "They [the Braves] were conceding the run, absolutely."

The inability to make contact haunted Yost on Wednesday. He found no fault with Alcides Escobar swinging at Craig Kimbrel's first pitch with the bases loaded and flying out to end the game.

"He gives you a pitch to hit and you try to put a good swing on it. That didn't bother me," Yost said.

The Royals know what a difference connecting in key situations can be. During their 9-1 spurt from June 5-14, their RISP average was .356 (31-for-87).

As a team, the Royals through Tuesday were hitting a solid .277 with RISP, ranking fifth in the American League. Tampa Bay and Detroit were on top, each at .288. But the Royals ranked 13th out of 15 teams in runs scored.

"So, I can't figure out why we're not scoring more runs," Yost said. "We're going to be better in the second half. I really think that these kids are going to be better.

"We've lost 16 one-run games and all of them were like [Tuesday] night. We've had an opportunity to win every single one of 'em. We have to find a way to get over that hump."

The Royals have won 11 one-run decisions.

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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