KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Losing doesn't get any easier to accept for the Kansas City Royals.
Michael Cuddyer singled home Joe Mauer in the 12th inning, giving the Minnesota Twins a 4-3 victory Tuesday night and sending the Royals to their ninth straight defeat."It's all disheartening and disappointing," Royals first-year manager Trey Hillman said. "I'm not going to sit here and sugarcoat it. It's frustating. People like playing us right now, and they should. It's more of the same. We need to get some big hits, see more pitches. It sounds like a broken record. We're in desperate times, no doubt about it, to get a win."Kansas City, outscored 53-19 in the nine losses, has had only six longer losing streaks, and three of those have been since 2005. The Royals have scored three or fewer runs in eight of the losses and rank last in the American League with 184 runs.Jesse Crain (2-2) picked up the victory, and Matt Guerrier worked the 12th to earn his first save and third of his career.The Royals had tied it at 3 in the ninth on Mark Teahen's three-run, inside-the-park homer off Joe Nathan, who blew his first save in 14 opportunities."I didn't get too overconfident, but you catch a break like that and you think that can turn the tide for you, but we just didn't finish the job," Teahen said.Teahen hit the first pitch from Nathan past a diving Delmon Young in left field and it rolled to the wall. Teahen beat the relay throw home for the Royals' first inside-the-park homer since Aug. 20, 2006."I'm having a hard time with this one because I'm so diappointed," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You can't leave your feet in left field in that situation. You got a three-run lead in the ninth and I know it was right on the line, but it's not a play where you can go diving all out and let three runs come in. I think Delmon just made a mistake. We just made a defensive mistake and it's an honest effort mistake."Leo Nunez (3-1), the Royals' fifth pitcher, was charged with the loss. He issued a one-out walk to Mauer and gave up a single to Justin Morneau. Cuddyer then singled to right to put the Twins ahead."We don't really rate the toughness of each loss, but it's not an easy one," Teahen said.Royals starter Nick Blackburn, a 26-year-old rookie right-hander, gave up two runs on eight hits -- seven of them singles -- while striking out four and walking none. He was replaced by Nathan with one out in the ninth after hitting Alex Gordon and allowing Miguel Olivo's single. That set up Teahen's big hit."I've been in that situation a couple of times and you're tired out there on the mound," Blackburn said. "Obviously, you don't want to make any mistakes up and I just kind of spiked that curveball a little bit too much."Cuddyer and Jason Kubel drove in runs in the second, and the Twins added a run in the fifth when Brendan Harris, who had two hits, scored on Alexi Casilla's single.The Twins had the bases loaded with one out, but could not score again off Royals right-hander Brian Bannister."I was doing everything I could to not give up any big hits," Bannister said. "If a runner got on base, I was trying to make sure he wouldn't score. It's been to the point recently where everybody is kind of down if the other team gets a [big] lead early. I didn't want that to happen."Bannister gave up three runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out three for his first no-decision of the season in his 11th start. He has only one victory in eight starts since beginning the season 3-0.
Teahen's inside-the-park homer was the first of his career and the Royals' first since Mark Grudzielanek on Aug. 20, 2006 against Oakland. ... Blackburn's outing was the longest of his career. ... Nathan's previous blown save against the Royals was July 10, 2005. His 28 saves against Kansas City is his most against any club.