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Hosmer's solo shot puts Royals on the board

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are still 0-for-Kauffman Stadium. And they can't do anything about it until next month.

The Toronto Blue Jays' 4-1 victory on Monday night meant that the Royals not only had lost 11 straight games but stood 0-10 at home as they left for a nine-game road trip. They won't be back until May 3, when the New York Yankees are in town.

"It was a horrible homestand. We didn't win any games, but they played their tails off," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We didn't play well. I'm not going to cover up the fact that we didn't play well. But it's a group I believe in."

Horrible, indeed. The Royals' 10 consecutive losses at home to start the season matched something that hasn't been done in the Major Leagues for 99 years.

The 1913 Yankees went through their first 18 home games without a victory, longest such stretch in history. They lost the first 10, tied Boston, 3-3, then lost seven more before finally winning at the Polo Grounds. The 1995 Florida Marlins and the 1940 Chicago White Sox each lost their first nine home games.

The 10 straight home losses were the most in Royals history, regardless of time of year. They'd lost nine straight in Kansas City in 2005 and '06. Their 11-game skid overall is tied for the fifth longest in team history. The club record is 19 straight losses in 2005.

The homestand encompassed three losses to Cleveland, three to Detroit and four to Toronto. The Royals open a road trip in Cleveland on Tuesday night.

"I think a change of scenery is going to help," Yost said. "We love this place, we love our fans but right now we completed this homestand and didn't win a game, so I think, obviously, a change of scenery is going to help get us back on track. We'll bring our game back here in nine, 10 days and hopefully be playing a lot better."

The Royals have tried a little of everything to get out of their funk. They've gotten angry. They've tried to relax. They've held team powwows. In fact, the players gathered for a meeting just before batting practice on Monday.

"I thought we had a very productive meeting today," right fielder Jeff Francoeur said but added: "We're done with meetings. We've got to go win baseball games in Cleveland. We need to get on the road, get away from all this and just play ball. Don't look at the scoreboard and your numbers, don't look at the standings right now."

Yes, the standings are not a pretty sight when you're 3-13, off to the third-worst 16-game start in team history and seven games out of first place.

In the latest loss, Kelly Johnson homered off left-hander Bruce Chen in the Blue Jays' first inning, and Jose Bautista smacked a two-run shot off Chen in the sixth. They added an insurance run off Jonathan Broxton in the ninth.

All the Royals could muster was Eric Hosmer's leadoff home run off right-hander Brandon Morrow in the second inning. The ball was just fair down the left-field line and was Hosmer's fourth homer this season.

But the Royals, in a sort of numerical oddity for their 0-10 homestand, were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

"We're getting ourselves into good situations and good places to hit with runners on base," third baseman Mike Moustakas said. "It's just that one hit that we need, that one hit with two outs and a runner on second. I've been leaving a small village on second base with two outs, and that's something I've got to get better at."

That happened just once in this game, and Moustakas, along with two brilliant fielding plays, contributed a double in the second inning and got to third on a passed ball. Typically, though, something went wrong. Moustakas was headed home as Mitch Maier raced toward first, intent on beating out a slow roller that he was chasing down the line. However, second baseman Johnson swooped in and, with his glove, flipped the ball to first baseman Adam Lind for the third out.

"It was great for him to come in full speed like that and make an accurate flip," Morrow said. "That's hard to do. He made a great play. ... Obviously, Kelly's great glove flip there saved a run."

Blue Jays manager John Farrell, after his club's sweep, left behind a gracious comment about the Royals.

"It's a good team. There are a lot of good players on that club. They might not be showing it now. But they've got plenty of arm strength coming out of that bullpen, the maturation of Moustakas from a year ago, Hosmer -- you know everyone in baseball knows about him," Farrell said. "They've got a very good young, talented team."

Yost obviously still fervently agrees with that assessment.

"I believe in these guys, I believe in their talent, I believe in who they are and I'm convinced these guys are going to be OK," Yost said. "And we're going to look at it two months from now, kind of laugh at it and say, 'Remember that rough start we got off to?'"

Well, they'll remember all right. Something like this is hard to forget.

"These 10 or 11 games have felt like a lifetime, I'm not going to lie to you," Yost said. "It's felt like three summers, this homestand alone. But you can't get caught up in 10 or 11 games over the course of a 162-game season."

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