"What's done is done," manager Ned Yost said, "but it's always disappointing when you lose a series."
The finale at Comerica Park against an American League Central foe may have been one of the more bitter losses. The Royals battled back from a three-run deficit to tie the score at 6 in the seventh, but reliever Ryan Madson allowed a decisive two-run homer to Ian Kinsler in the ninth.
"It would have been nice to hold [the Tigers] right there and let [the offense] get another crack at it," Madson said. "It's good to see that we had some fight in us still. That's a little more disappointing for us as a pitching staff."
The Royals have now lost six of their last eight games, posting a 5.93 ERA over that span. Meanwhile, the offense has averaged just 3.75 runs in that stretch, even after catcher Drew Butera's first home run of the year and designated hitter Kendrys Morales' three-hit performance on Thursday.
The road trip was particularly difficult for Madson, who was tagged for three runs on four hits and didn't record an out during last Friday's loss to Toronto.
Thursday's relief appearance ended in a similar fashion. The right-hander yielded a single to Jose Iglesias with the first pitch of the ninth inning. Then, Madson fell behind, 2-0, on Kinsler and tried to throw an inside sinker in an attempt to induce a double play.
"You know he's not going to bunt, because he's one of their best hitters," Madson said. "You know it's going to be a good battle."
Instead, Kinsler ended the fight quickly, teeing off on a 92-mph fastball and belting the offering over the left-field wall. It marked just the second and third runs allowed by the Royals' bullpen against the Tigers in 25 2/3 innings this year.
"Hopefully, it's capping off a bad couple weeks for me," Madson said. "Just ready to move on and get better. There's no learning to do. Just go out there and make better pitches, and that's about it."
The Royals dropped to 5-5 in the season series against the Tigers, but still boast the best record in the AL and will return to Kauffman Stadium -- where they're 34-18 -- on Friday to open a 10-game homestand.
Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.