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Early struggles for Hammel doom Royals in 6-4 loss

In the future, the Royals still stink.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

On a night in which the two teams wore futuristic uniforms, the Royals looked very much like they have all season in a 6-4 loss to the Mariners. A rough patch from Jason Hammel and poor clutch hitting doomed the Royals despite some bright spots on the night.

The Royals have more offense in the future, as their first three hitters all reached base. Whit Merrifield and Rosell Herrera led off the game with back-to-back-singles, and Mike Moustakas drove them all home by launching a home run into orbit, his 16th of the year. But Jason Hammel let the Mariners cut into the lead in the bottom of the first on an RBI double by Mitch Haniger to make it 3-1 after one frame.

Hammel was hit around in the second, giving up a two-run home run to Ryon Healy to tie the game 3-3. Ben Gamel followed that up with a triple, then scored on a Mike Zunino sacrifice fly to give the Mariners the lead. It was more of the same in the third when Denard Span doubled home a run, followed by an RBI single by Ryon Healy. After just three innings, Hammel had given up 12 hits and six runs.

Hammel would settle down after that to allow just one hit over the next three scoreless frames, saving the bullpen, but the damage had been done. The Royals added a run in the seventh when Adalberto Mondesi led off the inning by reaching on an error by first baseman Ryon Healy on a tough chopper. Whit Merrifield singled him to third, his third hit of the night, and Rosell Herrera brought him home on a sacifice fly.

Kansas City got something going in the eighth when Jorge Bonifacio led off with a single off sleeveless reliever Alex Colome and Alex Gordon followed up with a walk. That brought up Alcides Escobar, who is in the worst hitting month of his career. The Royals have just 53 plate appearances this year by “substitutes”, the fewest in baseball, suggesting Ned Yost has been a bit reluctant to pinch-hit this year. That may be because he has had few options, but in this case, putting in Hunter Dozier to bat for a slumping Escobar seems prudent. Yet Esky hit for himself and harmlessly popped out. Adalberto Mondesi grounded into a force to end the threat.

Heath Fillmyer provided two solid shutout innings in relief and Jorge Bonifacio joined Moustakas and Merrified with a multi-hit night, but the Royals again fell short. They end the month of June 5-21, tied with August 2005 as the second-worst month in franchise history, behind only the disastrous 3-17 start in April of 1992.

But at least there will be better days in the future.