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Offense struggles as Royals fall to Dodgers 4-1

The strike zone wasn’t fantastic, either

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals bats struggled to figure out Kenta Maeda and the Dodgers staff, managing just five hits in a 4-1 series opening loss in Los Angeles.

Tonight’s contest featured the two hottest teams in baseball, with the Dodgers having won 23 of their last 27 games and the Royals winning five of their first six in July and 18 of their last 24 overall.

Both teams saw opportunities in the early innings, with the Royals stranding three base runners over the first three innings and the Dodgers besting that figure with five of their own.

However, both starting pitchers worked their way out of their respective jams.

Jason Hammel first, leaving runners on first and second after walking a pair in the 2nd, and then Maeda in the 3rd, when he stranded his own pair of walks with a strikeout of Lorenzo Cain.

The Royals would get on the board in the fourth, however, with Mike Moustakas drilling a two-out double into the right-field corner and being driven in on an Alcides Escobar single.

That would turn out to be all the offense in the Kansas City bats.

The Dodgers also didn’t wait long to respond, and had a little bit of luck helping them do so.

With two outs and a runner on first, Maeda sent a little bleeder between Moustakas and Escobar to extend the inning. Logan Forsythe and Corey Seager followed suit with two more singles, giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.

Alex Gordon led off the next inning with a double to right, moving to third on Hammel’s sac bunt, but wouldn’t score with Whit Merrifield grounding out to second and Ramon Torres striking out to end the inning.

That would prove to be the last real offensive threat of the night for Kansas City, with Gordon being the last base runner to find his way into scoring position.

The Dodgers weren’t quite done yet, though.

Yasiel Puig hit an absolute tank in the 7th on a pretty darn good 2-2 pitch from Hammel, down and out of the strike zone, putting the Dodgers up 3-1.

Chase Utley would add one more insurance run in the bottom of the 8th on an RBI double to center field, boosting their lead to 4-1.

The RBI was Utley’s 1000th of his career.

Kenley Jansen hammered down the Royals 1-2-3 in the 9th to seal the win for the Dodgers.

The loss moves the Royals to 44-41 on the season and dropped them to 2.0 games out of the division lead after Cleveland’s 11-2 shelling of the Tigers this afternoon.

Up Next: Royals at Dodgers, July 8, 2017, 6:15 PM CDT, Dodger Stadium; RHP Ian Kennedy (3-6, 4.44 ERA) v. Brandon McCarthy (6-3, 3.25 ERA)