Kansas City is a hotbed for barbecue and the blues.
The baseball there isn’t too shabby, either.
The hottest team in the majors and defending World Series champs showed up in the form of the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday and gave the Marlins a lesson on winning, holding on for a 1-0 victory.
It was the ninth straight win for the Royals, who are fighting an uphill battle to return to the postseason due to a slow start to their season.
But the Royals — and their pitching in particular — looked to be in playoff form, putting the clamps on a Marlins lineup that produced plenty of baserunners, but no runs.
The Marlins went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
“We just couldn’t really break through,” said manager Don Mattingly.
Andrew Cashner gave the Marlins the kind of start they were hoping for when they traded for him in late July. He took a shutout into the sixth, scattering three singles without issuing any walks.
But it was his leadoff walk to Paulo Orlando to start the sixth that ended up costing him. Orlando stole second and eventually scored on Lorenzo Cain’s single on a 3-0 fastball from Cashner.
“I knew he was swinging there,” Cashner said of the Cain at bat. “It was a good fastball. It was a ground ball. It just wasn’t at somebody.”
Though no fault of his own on Tuesday, the Marlins have won just once in Cashner’s five starts for them — and that was his debut with Miami on July 31. He was also dealing with a blister that developed in his previous start in Cincinnati.
“Just been trying to manage it,” Cashner said.
Where the Marlins went wrong was at the plate.
They managed to put runners aboard against Royals starter Yordano Ventura but couldn’t turn them into runs. They loaded the bases in the third with two outs. But Ventura got Marcell Ozuna on a fly ball to end the inning.
The Marlins had their best scoring chance in the sixth when Ozuna doubled to lead off the inning. But after to advancing to third on a ground ball out, Ozuna was left stranded at third when Ichiro Suzuki grounded to second and Xavier Scruggs struck out swinging.
“That was our one true chance, really, to put the ball in the right spot,” Mattingly said. “I didn’t feel like we had a ton of chances, but we had a few. It’s one of those games tonight that you didn’t feel like it was going to take too much. Our guy was throwing it real good. There guy was throwing it good.”
Said Christian Yelich, who went 0 for 3: “We got shut out, so obviously we didn’t do a good enough job. (Ventura) had good stuff tonight. We weren’t able to do anything off him.”
It was the second 1-0 shutout loss by the Marlins this season. They also lost by that score to the Giants on Aug. 10.
The Marlins didn’t even end the game with a full complement of players, as Ozuna left in the seventh due to an undisclosed family emergency. It’s uncertain if he’ll be with the team on Wednesday.
“He had a little family emergency. It’s a personal thing,” Mattingly said.