KANSAS CITY -- Zack Greinke keeps saying this Royals team is better. This team, he says, is better than the Royals teams that lost 100 games from 2005-07. It may be getting harder and harder for Greinke to make that argument. The Texas Rangers beat the Royals, 2-0, on Tuesday in front of 25,012 at Kauffman Stadium, handing the Royals their 10th straight loss and ensuring that they'd stay in last place for one more day.
There are few answers to be found at Kauffman Stadium these days. The last win came in Boston on July 9. And the Royals are just 19-47 in their last 66 games. "It's not so much scratching your head as it is pulling your hair out," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. Greinke, for all his optimism, tried to toss his team a life raft in the form of another dominating performance. But not even Greinke could keep the Royals afloat. The ever-stingy Greinke held the Rangers to one run on three hits in seven innings, lowering his Major League-leading ERA to 2.04. He also racked up 10 strikeouts -- the fourth time he's reached that figure this season. Not that any of it mattered much. Greinke's start was squandered as the Royals' offense went back into its shell against Rangers starter Scott Feldman. Feldman, who hadn't gone seven innings all season, threw eight shutout innings and surrendered just four hits. "He was throwing the ball well," Hillman said. "Do we have to do more? Yes." The Royals were shut out for the ninth time this season -- that's tied with the Chicago White Sox for the most in the American League. The only smudge on Greinke's shimmering performance came in the top of the fourth, when Marlon Byrd cracked the first pitch he saw -- a curveball out over the plate -- 377 feet into the Rangers' bullpen in left field. "I know he wished that pitch was in a better spot," Byrd said. "That was something we needed, and Feldman took it from there." This Royals' skid is nothing new in Kansas City. They suffered a 12-game losing streak last season between May 19 and May 30. They lost 13 in a row in 2006. And then they had a 19-game fiasco in '05. But this losing skid feels a little different to Greinke. "I keep saying it, but our team is pretty good," Greinke said. "It's not like in years past, when you're losing. It's a different feeling. We're better than some of the teams we're facing, and we're just not getting it done." Greinke should know better than most. Despite his minuscule ERA, Greinke hasn't won since June 28 at Pittsburgh -- and the Royals are just 10-10 in his starts. Feldman's performance on Friday can shoulder a little of the blame for that last number. Feldman put the clamps on the Royals' bats early, and when the offense did get an opportunity, it came away with nothing. The Royals put two runners on with two outs in the third on a single from Yuniesky Betancourt and a walk from David DeJesus. But Willie Bloomquist grounded out to second and stifled the Royals' first scoring opportunity. Feldman gave the Royals little to work with in the middle innings. After Betancourt's single in the third, the Royals wouldn't pick up another hit until a double from Bloomquist in the bottom of the sixth. Bloomquist moved up to third with two outs on a wild pitch, but Mark Teahen flied out to right, stranding Bloomquist and sending the Royals scoreless into the seventh. "For you to outpitch Zack, you gotta throw pretty good," Royals catcher Brayan Pena said. "[Feldman] did a great job. He was using his cutter. He was working with a two-seam down and away and then he was coming with the cutter and we couldn't hit him." Down, 2-0, the Royals squandered their last chance to get to Feldman in the eighth, and other than a double from Alberto Callaspo in the ninth, the Royals went quietly against Rangers closer C.J. Wilson. And that was it. The losing continued. The streak moved into the weekend. There was no fun on Friday for the Royals, only frustration. "Every single one is tough," Pena said.
Rustin Dodd is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.