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Royals’ offense remains mired in mighty slump, extending franchise-record scoreless streak in loss to Rays

Kansas City Royals first base coach Rusty Kuntz heads to the dugout after Melky Cabrera ground out to end the game with a 12-0 shutout by the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 28, 2017 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals extended their scoreless streak to a franchise-record 43 innings, getting shut out for a fourth straight game in a 12-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.

The Royals haven’t scored since the second inning of a 3-2 loss to Colorado last Thursday and were blanked three times over the weekend by Cleveland. The 1968 Chicago Cubs and 1906 Philadelphia Athletics hold the major league record at 48 scoreless innings, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The 1992 Cubs were the last team to be blanked in four straight games, and it hasn’t happened in the AL since the 1964 Washington Senators — nine years before the adoption of the designated hitter. No team has been shut out in five straight games since at least 1913, according to information gathered from baseball-reference.com.

The Royals were two games out of first place on July 28 after a nine-game winning streak. Since then, they have lost 19 of 29 and are 10 games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland and three games back of Minnesota for the final AL wild card.

Austin Pruitt (7-4) pitched six one-run innings for Tampa Bay, and Matt Andriese allowed one more hit while getting a three-inning save, his first this season.

Lucas Duda, Wilson Ramos and Logan Morrison went deep for Tampa Bay, with Duda getting his 25th and Morrison his 32nd of the season. Evan Longoria and Morrison hit back-to-back doubles after Duda’s shot in the third off Ian Kennedy (4-10).

Kennedy was removed after Ramos’ homer later that inning. He allowed seven runs on two homers and four doubles, two walks and a sacrifice fly. Kennedy has allowed 15 runs and 19 hits, six of them home runs, in 10 innings in his last three starts. He is winless in a club record 17 consecutive home starts.

Morrison hit a three-run homer, his third in two games, in the ninth.

Rookie right-hander Pruitt, who gave up four home runs to Toronto in his previous start, walked one and struck out six.

Lorenzo Cain doubled with one out in the fourth for Kansas City’s first hit. He reached third on Melky Cabrera’s fly out, becoming the first Royal to touch third base since the fourth inning Saturday. Cain also doubled with two out in the ninth.

Andriese, who was just activated from the 60-day disabled list after a hip injury, allowed one walk and a double.

The Rays snapped an eight-game skid at Kauffman Stadium. They had lost 15 of their previous 16 games in Kansas City.

SKOGLUND OPTIONED

Royals rookie LHP Eric Skoglund, who gave up seven runs and retired only four batters in a start Sunday at Cleveland, was optioned to Triple-A Omaha.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: Andriese (right hip stress reaction) was activated from the 60-day disabled list. The Rays optioned RHP Chih-Wei Hu to Triple-A Durham and designated for assignment IF Taylor Featherston.

Royals: LHP Brian Flynn, who was just recalled from Triple-A Omaha, left with left groin tightness after throwing his warmup pitches in the sixth inning. … Mike Moustakas (bruised knee) made his first start at third base since Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Alex Cobb is 5-3 with a 2.90 ERA in his past dozen starts.

Royals: Rookie RHP Jake Junis is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his past six starts.