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Royals' offense key near one-quarter mark

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KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are just about at the quarter pole of their 162-game trek through the season. The 2-1 loss to the Orioles on Thursday night was their 40th game.

So manager Ned Yost was asked for his assessment of his team, which sat at .500 (20-20) entering Friday night's contest.

"We need to hit better. That's it," Yost said. "The defense has been great, the starting pitching has been great, the bullpen has been very, very good, but we need to hit better."

Going into Friday night's game, the Royals were tied for second-last in the American League in runs scored and were last in home runs, total bases and slugging percentage.

"We need to produce more runs, we need to hit better with runners in scoring position. Two-out hits are hard to come by," Yost said. "We just have to get more guys in our lineup clicking so we can produce more offense.

"We've done a nice job, I think, at this point -- 40 games in -- at being at .500. You look at our record when we score three runs or less [3-18], that stuff can't happen and it won't happen when we get firing more on all cylinders."

After going a disastrous 8-20 in May last season, the Royals this year lost their first five games of the month before going on a 6-3 spurt to even their record.

"You look at what happened last year. If we could've stayed at .500 through this stretch, we would've been in the playoffs," Yost said. "Because this team's going to get hot like it did last year and we're going to get on a nice run. So to be at .500 at this point instead of nine games under .500, we're in pretty good shape because we all believe in our offense."

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

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