Kansas City, Mo. Ned Yost was angry, that much was clear.
The Royals manager had watched his pop-gun offense fail to score through five innings, and felt his starting pitcher was getting squeezed. So Yost trundled out to the mound, waited for plate umpire Kerwin Danley to arrive and then uttered what must have been some mighty choice words.
Danley promptly tossed him from the game — and spared Yost from having to watch the rest of Kansas City’s 3-0 loss to the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
“I lost my frustration,” Yost said afterward. “It’s mostly my fault.”
Well, he could probably heap some blame on Collin McHugh (3-3), who held the Royals to five hits in seven innings while striking out nine without a walk. And on Tony Sipp and Chad Qualls, who kept Kansas City from mounting any sort of comeback the final two innings.
Then again, maybe the blame belongs on the Kansas City offense.
“You don’t lose confidence, but you’re definitely frustrated. We definitely should be putting up a better fight,” said Eric Hosmer, who went 0 for 4. “As an offense as a whole, we should be putting up a better performance like that. We’re not getting job done right now.”
The Royals have been shut out four times already.
The only run Jeremy Guthrie (2-4) allowed came when Matt Dominguez followed up a pair of one-out walks to Dexter Fowler and Jason Castro with a single in the fourth inning. Houston added two more runs against Tim Collins in the eighth.
“Everyone has a different approach, but as a team we’re frustrated that we can’t go out there and play a little bit more consistently,” Guthrie said. “Sometimes we’ve just got to be able to go out there and made adjustments individually as well as collectively and make ourselves better.”
The Astros own the worst record in the AL, but have won four in a row on the road for the first time since taking six straight away from Minute Maid Park last May 29-June 3.
Guthrie left after allowing seven hits and three walks in six innings. The right-hander dodged plenty of trouble, inducing double-play grounders in the third and fifth, but still got stuck with his fourth straight loss. His last win came April 9 against Tampa Bay.
During a nine-start winless streak, Guthrie has allowed just one run on three occasions.
“As an offense right now, we’ve got to find a way to get it done,” Hosmer said. “We’re just simply not doing it right now. We’ve got to figure out a way to produce runs and do what we can cause the pitching staff is doing way too well right now to be giving them this kind of run support. We’ve just got to flat out figure a way to get it done.”
Sort of like McHugh and the Astros did Tuesday night.
McHugh stranded a runner at third base in the second inning and runners at second and third in the fifth, but otherwise cruised through the Kansas City lineup. Designated hitter Billy Butler and shortstop Alcides Escobar each struck out twice, and leadoff hitter Nori Aoki went 0 for 4.
Just about the only thing that didn’t go right for Houston was the end of rookie George Springer’s homer streak. He had gone deep in four straight games, and after hitting two flyballs to the warning track Tuesday night, finished 1 for 4 with a weakly hit single.
“I mean, I think we’re playing hard,” said McHugh, who is already on his third big league team in three seasons. “We’re coming to play every day, and we’re putting together a few games here.”