KANSAS CITY -- There doesn't seem to be much middle ground for the Royals this season. They're either streaky good or streaky bad.
Right now, they're in a bad streak. The Kansas City club lost a seventh straight game, 7-2, to the Washington Nationals as 28,023 fans gathered on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium. The Nationals, streaky good right now, won their fifth straight.
You might remember some of this: The Royals started out 17-10 prior to a 6-22 stretch mostly in May. Then they got on a 20-12 roll, but were 0-5 right before the All-Star Game. After the break, they roared away 19-5, but have since gone 2-10.
It's puzzling and manager Ned Yost has no answer.
"I'm not gonna figure it out. What's going to happen is we're going to get some hits and we're going to win a game, and then we're going to come back and we're going to get on a roll again," Yost said. "There's no figuring it out."
Along the way, they've won nine and six in a row, and lost eight and now seven in a row.
"Once we can get it going, once we can stop the slide, we can start pushing our way back uphill again but, for some reason, stopping slides is tough for us," Yost said.
At the moment, his team sits exactly at .500 (64-64) with 34 games remaining. Who knows what kind of streakiness is ahead?
Yost took a stab at it.
"This team has another good run in it. It sure does," he said.
This was "Salute to the Negro Leagues Night" and the teams wore replica uniforms from the 1942 Negro Leagues World Series between the Homestead Grays, who represented both Washington and Pittsburgh that year, and the Kansas City Monarchs. The Monarchs, featuring Satchel Paige and Buck O'Neil, won all four games.
No such luck for the Royals wearing Monarchs red-and-white garb. The Homestead Grays finally extracted their revenge.
The gray-and-dark blue-clad Nationals rolled up a 7-1 lead by the sixth inning against Royals starter Wade Davis. They broke a 1-1 tie with four runs in the fourth inning as Tyler Moore delivered an RBI double to the wall and Chad Tracy blooped a two-run single.
"I was making mistakes over the plate. I made a couple mistakes with two strikes when I was ahead of guys and I can't do that," Davis said.
Ian Desmond's two-run homer came in the sixth inning. Wilson Ramos led off with a single and Desmond pounded his 18th homer over the left-field wall.
"I got ahead of him 0-2, made a bad pitch, left it over the plate and he hit a home run," Davis said.
That was Davis' last inning and he surrendered the seven runs on eight hits and three walks He is 6-10, his ERA is up to 5.67 and he's lost five of his last nine starts.
Yost said he wouldn't make an immediate decision on Davis' future in the rotation.
"Those are questions that need to be well thought-out," he said. "You can't make an emotional decision after a game."
Is it a question that does need to be thought-out?
"Yeah, definitely," he replied. "In all fairness, I think it is. Yeah."
Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann gave up a run in the third inning. That was the result of singles by Alcides Escobar, Emilio Bonifacio and Eric Hosmer. It was Hosmer's 17th RBI in August.
Zimmermann pitched into the eighth inning, but left with two out and two on base. Left-hander Fernando Abad gave up a run-scoring single to Mike Moustakas and walked Justin Maxwell to load the bases. But Abad struck out David Lough to squelch the threat.
Now 15-7, Zimmerman shares the National League lead in victories with the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright.
"Not only was he making good pitches with his fastball, he had a good slider," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "He wasn't flying open. He used his changeup better than I've seen him use it all year. He probably threw 12-15 changeups, outstanding changeups to the left-handers. It was a great effort."
The Royals find themselves 11½ games behind in the American League Central and eight games out in the Wild Card race.
Their streakiness now has them trending downward.
"It's frustrating," the Royals' Alex Gordon said. "No one likes losing streaks and no one likes being in a seven-game losing streak after we were playing so well. It's frustrating, but we're professionals so we just need to come out here and keep playing, keep grinding, keep trying to get victories."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.