Royals swept away in Seattle

Royals drop 18th straight

SEATTLE -- Here's a guarantee: The Royals will not lose Thursday. They have an open date.

They can probably use it, too, after their string of losses crawled to 18 games as they stumbled and fell, 11-5, to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday at Safeco Field.

Left-hander Jamie Moyer worked seven innings to improve his record to 10-4. He held the Royals to six hits and one run, struck out seven and walked none.

The only juice that dripped from the Royals' bats came in the ninth inning when Paul Phillips belted his first Major League home run, a grand slam off reliever Matt Thornton.

"It was great, one of those things you're always going to remember but it was kind of overshadowed by the way we played," Phillips said.

The Royals have been playing like this for three weeks now. They haven't won since beating the Chicago White Sox in 13 innings, 6-5, on July 27.

Ever so reluctantly, the Royals are edging toward history. They are just three losses from matching the American League record of 21 in a row by the 1988 Baltimore Orioles. The National League record is 24 straight by the 1899 Cleveland Spiders.

By losing 18 straight, the Royals have joined six other Major League clubs, the most recent being the 1959 Washington Senators. There are 12 clubs that have lost 19 or more.

"There's a lot of history I care about," Royals manager Buddy Bell said, "but right now I'm just concerned about how we play and how we move forward and how we see things as we move on. Right now, we just have to give ourselves a chance. We just haven't given ourselves a chance."

Certainly not on Wednesday as 35,224 fans enjoyed a pleasant afternoon in the Emerald City. No. 18 for the Royals began with a thud.

That thud was the sound of Adrian Beltre's grand slam in the Mariners' first inning. The bases were jammed after Willie Bloomquist blooped a single and right-hander D.J. Carrasco walked the next two batters.

"It's hard to put your team in the hole like that. It's hard to come back from," Carrasco said. "It was just one of those days, man. I left too many balls up in the zone and I paid for it."

Beltre belted a two-seam fastball that sailed back over the inside of the plate.

While Moyer dodged pitches around the Royals' bats, the situation grew bleaker. Carrasco was excused in the fourth and the Mariners were up 7-0.

Shawn Camp gave up a solo homer to Richie Sexson in the fifth and Ambiorix Burgos surrendered a two-run double to Ichiro Suzuki in the sixth and it was 10-1.

"Yesterday it was a game of inches," Camp said. "Today it was a ..."

A game of miles.

"Anytime you give the opposing team 11 runs in the Major Leagues, it's tough to come back and I was part of that," Camp said.

The Royals managed a run off Moyer in the sixth on David DeJesus' double and Mike Sweeney's single. That was it until Thornton passed out four walks, with a double-play grounder mixed in, during the ninth. Even down by 10 runs, the Royals didn't concede, hassling Thornton with some tough at-bats.

"That's the thing with this team. We're going up there and trying to have good at-bats and to have a good outcome. It's just not happening for us right now," Phillips said.

"That's the sad part about it. But this team is not just saying, 'Well, here we go again.' We're battling every at-bat, every pitch, trying to put together two or three hits and score some runs."

Phillips drove his slam into the left-field seats on a 1-1 slider.

But the Royals ran out of time. Donnie Murphy struck out on a full count and No. 18 was in the books.

The Royals have been swept in six consecutive series, losing four games to Tampa, three each to Boston, Oakland and Cleveland, two to Detroit and three to Seattle. Before this swoon, they were in a 7-4 whirl.

"We'd been playing great but stats don't lie. During this skid, we've been hitting terribly, pitching terribly and playing terrible defense," Sweeney said.

Take a look: During the 18 games the Royals have been outscored 144-63. They are batting .231 to the opponents' .322, the pitchers have a 7.40 ERA, and they've committed 15 errors.

"Growing up in Virginia, I used to watch the Orioles games and I remember when they lost 21 in a row," Camp said.

"I've never been around anything like this. You look around the clubhouse, though, and you've got a lot of believers."

Yeah, maybe the Royals' luck will change.

"Luck is for the casinos," Sweeney said. "We have to come out here and play good baseball."

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