KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) As tough as it was to handle, the weak-hitting Kansas City Royals hoped Friday night’s loss to Washington might at least ignite a slumbering offense.
But no such luck.
Facing Washington right-hander Jordan Zimmermann on Saturday night, they fell right back into an offensive funk.
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They managed nine hits.
But all were singles as the Nationals handed the Royals a seventh straight loss with a 7-2 decision.
“I haven’t figured it out, and I’m not going to figure it out,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We’re going to get a game where we get some hits and win a game and get it going.”
After a 19-5 surge gave fans hope for an end to a 27-year playoff drought, the Royals have lost seven in a row and 10 of 12.
“It’s frustrating,” left fielder Alex Gordon said. “I don’t like losing streaks and I don’t like losing streaks after we’ve been playing so well. We’re professionals. We’ll keep playing and grinding.”
Do the Royals have another good streak left?
“This team has another good run in it,” Yost said. “It sure does.”
Rebounding from one of his worst career outings, Zimmermann went 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and eight hits.
He struck out seven and walked just one. After George Kottaras singled with two out in the fourth, Zimmermann retired 11 straight until Emilio Bonifacio walked with one out in the eighth.
“I had four pitches working and when I have that going, it’s usually a fun night to be out there,” he said. “And the offense got some runs early and allowed me to settle in.”
Ian Desmond hit his 18th home run as the Nationals won their fifth in a row, all on the road. The Nationals have won 11 of 15 overall while the Royals have been staggering.
“He has four above-average pitches and everything he throws dives into lefties,” K.C.’s Eric Hosmer said of Zimmermann. “I can see why he’s so tough to hit.”
The victory tied Zimmermann with Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals for the NL lead in wins.
“He had a tremendous slider, pitched with conviction and kept his fastball down,” Yost said. “He had us off balance all night.”
Wade Davis (6-10) allowed seven runs and eight hits in six innings, including Desmond’s two-run home run in the sixth. He walked three and struck out four.
The Nationals, who scored seven runs in the fourth inning of a come-from-behind 11-10 victory on Friday, scored four in the same inning against Davis.
Ryan Zimmerman walked leading off and sped to third on a single by Bryce Harper, who had an RBI single in the first.
Wilson Ramos hit a sacrifice fly, Tyler Moore delivered an RBI double and Chad Tracy brought in two more runs with a bloop single.
“We’re putting good at-bats together, seeing the ball well, pitching well, playing good defense,” Desmond said. “It’s just been a matter of time. We’re starting to get hot. Guys are starting to see the ball better.”
The Royals bunched three singles off Zimmermann in the third, including Hosmer’s run-scoring hit into left-center.
Fernando Abad relieved Zimmermann with two out and one on in the eighth and allowed an RBI single to Mike Moustakas before David Lough struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
With the victory, the Nationals guaranteed a winning interleague record for the third straight season.
NOTES: Washington outfielder Jayson Werth, who hit a two-run home run Friday night, sat out with an infection between the toes of his right foot. He was hoping to play on Sunday. … In a salute to the Negro leagues, the Royals wore the uniform of the Kansas City Monarchs while the Nationals dressed as the Washington Homestead Grays, a rematch of the 1942 Negro Leagues World Series. … Alex Gordon recorded his league-leading 11th outfield assist when he threw out Ryan Zimmerman in the first inning trying to stretch a single into a double.