Morales' bat gets going, but he, KC can't capitalize
Slugger reaches 4 times, but tagged out twice as Royals held to his solo homer
By Scott Chasen
KANSAS CITY -- While the Royals are known for their "keep the line moving" offensive mentality, their struggles have come in a similar fashion.
Despite getting the leadoff man on five times Sunday, the Royals managed to tally only a run on Kendrys Morales' homer in their 2-1 loss to the Rangers. They ended up stranding seven runners on base, making the last out of the game with runners on first and second.
"When we [struggle], we do it as a team," manager Ned Yost said.
Over the last five games, the Royals' offensive struggles have put them in a tough position. They've gone 1-4 in those games, averaging just three runs per contest. That stretch has seen them drop to below .500 for the first time since May 17.
"[The] offense hasn't done very hot the past couple days," second baseman Whit Merrifield said. "We have to do better."
On Sunday, the lone offensive bright spot was Morales, who reached in all four of his plate appearances. He homered in the top of the fourth inning to put the Royals on the board, but had a frustrating day on the basepaths.
Morales broke for home after Merrifield hit a soft grounder to Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus with one out in the second inning of a scoreless game. Andrus made a perfect throw home, and the Royals failed to plate a run despite having two runners in scoring position before making the first out of the inning.
Morales also got caught in a rundown on an Alex Gordon grounder in the sixth, tagged out after delivering a one-out double. Gordon made it to second on the play, but with two outs, was stranded there.
"We just didn't execute," Yost said. "We had opportunities. We just didn't capitalize on them."
Yost did however acknowledge Morales' other success, both at the plate and on defense, filling in for first baseman Eric Hosmer, who served as the designated hitter. Hosmer agreed with Yost's assessment, giving Morales his stamp of approval.
"Mo is a great defender. ... When everybody saw him go in the outfield for those couple games, we saw how athletic he was," Hosmer said. "As far as hands and being an athlete, he's above-average."
But in the end, the firepower from one bat wasn't enough to get the offense going.
With just one run to their name, the Royals fell to 5-12 in their last 17 games, scoring three or fewer runs for the 10th time during that stretch.
"It's important to get all of our guys going again," Yost said. "[Alex Gordon] is swinging the bat better. That's good. Kendrys got some big hits for us today. That's good. We [just] have to find ways to produce more offense."
Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.