KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The San Francisco Giants are going in one direction and the Kansas City Royals in another.
James Shields threw a four-hitter and Alex Gordon homered as the Royals won their sixth straight, beating the Giants 5-0 on Saturday night.
The Royals have won nine of 10 to move with 1 1-2 games of AL Central-leading Detroit. The Royals, who have not made the playoffs since beating St. Louis in the 1985 World Series, are in second place in the AL wild card standings.
On the flip side, the Giants have lost 34 of their past 54 games, a .370 winning percentage, the third-worst in the majors in that span. On June 9, the Giants were a major league-best 42-21 with a 9½-game lead in the NL West.
They trail the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers by 3½ games after the Saturday loss They are in a virtual tie with Pittsburgh and St. Louis for the top spot in the NL wild card standings.
"We're in a position to make a run and if you're in the playoffs anything can happen," Giants catcher Buster Posey said. "We know we can win games against good teams. If we get hot down the stretch anything can happen."
Is it too early to be thinking about the Dodgers, Pirates and Cardinals?
"We have a little under 50 games left and we're focusing on trying to play solid baseball, so ask me that a little later," Posey said.
Shields (11-6) gave up three singles in the first four innings. He allowed only two Giants to reach second base. He walked Joe Panik in the fifth and he moved to second on a wild pitch with two outs, but was stranded. Panik doubled in the eighth.
It was Shields' ninth career shutout, his first since Sept. 9, 2012.
Tim Hudson (8-9) gave up a home run to Gordon to lead off the fifth inning on Nebraska Night at Kauffman Stadium. Gordon is a Lincoln, Nebraska native and was the college player of the year in 2005 as a junior with the Cornhuskers.
The Giants have lost seven of their past eight games against AL clubs.