The Kansas City Royals are closing in on a major league futility record.
The Royals extended their scoreless streak to 43 innings, five shy of the record, getting shut out for a fourth straight game in a 12-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.
Kansas City hasn't scored since the second inning of a 3-2 loss to Colorado last Thursday, and it was blanked three times over the weekend by Cleveland. The 1968 Chicago Cubs and the 1906 Philadelphia Athletics hold the major league record at 48 innings.
The 1992 Cubs were the last team to be blanked in four straight games, and it hasn't happened in the AL since the 1964 Washington Senators — nine years before the adoption of the designated hitter. No team has been shut out in five straight games since at least 1913, according to information gathered from baseball-reference.com.
"I hate to say it, but it's all about learning how to lose," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "This can really wear you down and prolong streaks like this for a long time because it's very hard when you're losing these types of games because disappointment sets in, frustration sets in.
"At the end of the day if we haven't scored in four days, I can still look at this group knowing that this group has been all in for four days. They've played to the last out for four games. There is nothing more than I can ask from them."
The Royals were two games out of first place on July 28 after a nine-game winning streak. Since then, they have lost 19 of 29 and are 10 games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland and three games back of Minnesota for the final AL wild card.
Austin Pruitt (7-4) pitched six one-run innings for Tampa Bay, and Matt Andriese allowed one more hit while getting a three-inning save, his first this season.
Lucas Duda, Wilson Ramos and Logan Morrison went deep for Tampa Bay, with Duda getting his 25th and Morrison his 32nd of the season. Evan Longoria and Morrison hit back-to-back doubles after Duda's shot in the third off Ian Kennedy (4-10).
Kennedy was removed after Ramos' homer later that inning. He allowed seven runs on two homers and four doubles, two walks and a sacrifice fly. Kennedy has allowed 15 runs and 19 hits, six of them home runs, in 10 innings in his last three starts. He is winless in a club record 17 consecutive home starts.
"It's not the way I want to pitch," Kennedy said. "It's the worst I've done in a while that I can think of. I've been stringing some bad, bad outings in a row. That makes it really frustrating."
Morrison hit a three-run homer, his third in two games, in the ninth.
"Pruitt and Andriese did a great job," Morrison said. "Gave the guys at the back end of the bullpen some well-needed, well-deserved rest. Another 'W' on the way to where we need to go."
Rookie right-hander Pruitt, who gave up four home runs to Toronto in his previous start, walked one and struck out six.
"I was hitting my spots for the most part, and executing all of my pitches," Pruitt said. "LoMo (Morrison) made some unbelievable plays behind me. Holy smokes! That was awesome. That kind of put a little extra fire in me."
Morrison logged four assists with some dazzling glove work at first base.
"It was a complete game for LoMo," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He made tremendous plays. Took away two or three hits, I think, so he did it on both sides of the ball."
Lorenzo Cain doubled with one out in the fourth for Kansas City's first hit. He reached third on Melky Cabrera's fly out, becoming the first Royal to touch third base since the fourth inning Saturday. Cain also doubled with two out in the ninth.
Andriese, who was just activated from the 60-day disabled list after a hip injury, allowed one walk and a double a Cain with two out in the ninth.
The Rays snapped an eight-game skid at Kauffman Stadium. They had lost 15 of their previous 16 games in Kansas City.
Royals rookie LHP Eric Skoglund, who gave up seven runs and retired only four batters in a start Sunday at Cleveland, was optioned to Triple-A Omaha.
Rays: Andriese (right hip stress reaction) was activated from the 60-day disabled list. The Rays optioned RHP Chih-Wei Hu to Triple-A Durham and designated for assignment IF Taylor Featherston.
Royals: LHP Brian Flynn, who was just recalled from Triple-A Omaha, left with a grade one left groin strain after throwing his warmup pitches in the sixth inning. ... Mike Moustakas (bruised knee) made his first start at third base since Wednesday.
Rays: RHP Alex Cobb is 5-3 with a 2.90 ERA in his past dozen starts.
Royals: Rookie RHP Jake Junis is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his past six starts.