Kansas City, Mo. Like back-yard gardeners, the Royals sure know how to dig themselves a hole.
Kansas City fell to 0-3 on the season Friday following an 8-3 home-opening loss to the Cleveland Indians. Last year, the Royals started 0-5 and 2-9. The year before, KC went 0-7 and 1-16 in April.
"This is not a hole. A hole is something you can't get out of in a short period of time," argued KC center fielder Brian McRae. "We've lost three games, but in two days we can be a game under .500."
On the other hand, if the Royals continue to struggle at the plate -- they've scored eight runs in 27 innings -- they could find themselves 0-5 on Sunday.
Kansas City managed seven hits Friday, including just one extra-base hit, Vince Coleman's eighth-inning home run. Winning pitcher Charles Nagy surrendered two runs in the first then settled down to scatter five hits in seven innings.
"We're not swinging the bats," KC skipper Hal McRae said. "If you do not score four or five runs, it's not enough to beat a team like Cleveland."
KC newcomer Dave Henderson, who went hitless in four at-bats Friday, is off to an 0-for-12 start, and shortstop Greg Gagne (0-for-3 Friday) is 0-10. Yet McRae said no changes were in order for today's 1:35 p.m. contest.
"We're not gonna tinker. We're not gonna change anything. You guys (media) are the ones who will panic. I'm not going to panic," McRae said.
Several fans had panic attacks when starting pitcher Tom Gordon was helped off the field in the fourth inning. Jim Thome, who belted a three-run homer in the second, kayoed Gordon with a one-hop smash off the pitcher's left shin.
X-rays were negative, and the bruised Gordon is listed as day-to-day.
"My knee, ankle and everything gave out," said Gordon, who allowed four hits and four runs in 3ing pitcher Charared I had a fracture or break."
He was relieved to hear he's OK.
"I'm going to have fun this year. The only way for me to have fun is to be on the mound. I'm not going to miss any time," said Gordon, who went 3-0 in spring training after winning his final four decisions and compiling a 12-6 mark last year.
Today, Kevin Appier (0-1) will be opposed by Mark Clark as the Royals attempt to avoid an 0-4 beginning.
"We're not worried at all," said first baseman Wally Joyner, who went 0-for-3 and is hitting .200. "I've always said it's harder to go 1-16 than 16-1."