The blue silence is just deafening, isn’t it?
The Royals played their first home game Tuesday since George Brett became their interim hitting coach, and they marked the occasion by rolling over mutely for Minnesota right-hander Samuel Deduno in a 3-0 loss.
Not just any loss, either.
This one set a franchise record: Eleven straight defeats at Kauffman Stadium, which erased the previous mark set a little over a year ago when the Royals opened their 2012 home schedule by dropping 10 in a row.
Anyone got a white flag? Aspirin? A keg?
“You’re mad for a little bit after the game,” designated hitter Billy Butler said, “but then you just realize you can’t do anything to change it. You’ve got to prepare for the next day.”
It’s getting grim, though; grimmer each day.
“Everybody gets frustrated,” manager Ned Yost admitted, “but you’ve got to fight the frustration because it doesn’t do anybody any good. You continue to try to stay as patient as you can.
“You try to fight the frustration. Nobody likes to lose. I can’t stand it.”
Deduno, 2-1, is the latest opponent — many of whom have been, ah, less than household names — to overmatch the Royals. He yielded a mere four hits through six-plus innings before the Twins went to their bullpen.
“I felt pretty good today,” he said. “Everything was working. The fastball was moving. Everything was on. The curveball, change-up — everything was working today.”
Let’s be fair: Deduno was coming off a 4-1 victory over Milwaukee, when his seven-inning performance marked the longest outing by a Twins starter over the last three weeks.
So maybe he’s clicked into a groove.
But how can you tell? The Royals, at this point, pack less pop than rum-less punch. And their pulse keeps getting weaker. This was the 13th time in 18 games they failed to score more than three runs.
They are 3-15 in that stretch. Further, they are 6-22 since topping out at 17-10 with a 6-5 victory over the White Sox on May 5. Yep, that’s a month ago.
And now 11 straight home losses. And counting.
“You just keep hoping every day that you come to the park,” Yost said, “that you’re going to break out of it. You continue to work hard.
“George (Brett) is working tirelessly with these hitters — with their mental approach, with their physical approach.”
It’s hard, at this point, to see any hopeful signs.
The Royals already trailed by three runs when Lorenzo Cain opened the seventh with a double into the left-center gap on Deduno’s 105th pitch. That brought lefty Brian Duensing into the game.
Duensing retired Mike Moustakas on a fly to right before manager Ron Gardenhire brought in Casey Fien, who stranded Cain when Salvy Perez flied out to short center and David Lough grounded to second.
Jared Burton worked a one-two-three eighth with two strikeouts. Glen Perkins closed out the shutout for his 12th save in 14 chances.
“It was a nice ballgame for us, a nice win,” Gardenhire said. “Sammy was good, kind of exactly what you see out of him. He’s got great stuff. The ball’s moving all over the place, in and out.”
“Bottom line is he gave a great chance to win a ballgame, and our bullpen came in and did a fantastic job again tonight to finish it off.”
Royals starter Luis Mendoza, 1-3, didn’t permit a hit until the fourth inning but exited, down three runs, after throwing 95 pitches in 41/3 innings.
“I just wasn’t able to throw my fastball for strikes,” he said. “When that happens, they’re just going to sit on my curveball.”
The Twins didn’t get their first hit until Ryan Doumit opened the fourth with a 405-foot homer into the right-field fountains —on a full-count curveball.
“I’m just battling,” Doumit said, “trying to get a pitch up and put the bat on the ball. That’s all I’m thinking. Once I hit it, I knew I got it, but that certainly wasn’t my intention.
“You’re not out there with two strikes trying to hit a home run. You’re just trying to put the bat on the ball. Mendoza’s got good stuff, but he hung a pitch and made a mistake.”
Butler opened the Royals’ fourth with a double but — does this sound familiar? — got no farther. Cain struck out, Moustakas flied to center and Perez grounded to third.
And what came next in the Minnesota fifth?
Joe Mauer ripped a one-out double into the left-center gap, and Josh Willingham followed with a line-drive single past third for a 2-0 lead.
Justin Morneau’s single through the right side moved Willingham to second. Doumit’s soft liner into center made it 3-0 and finished Mendoza.
Luke Hochevar loaded the bases with a two-out walk to Brian Dozier before retiring Aaron Hicks on a foul pop to Perez near the Twins’ dugout.
Still, a three-run hole, the way the Royals are scratching for runs, seemed enormous. It was.
“We just can’t get the guys in when we need to,” Butler said. “Runner on second with nobody out. Then we had a guy on third with less than two (outs). That’s two runs right there.
“We’ve got to pick up the easy ones when we can.”
Right now, there are no easy ones.