KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The wall in the visiting manager's office at Kauffman Stadium is adorned with photos of legendary managers such as Dick Williams, Billy Martin and Bobby Cox. Bruce Bochy looked at that wall often as his team was swept in Kansas City.

"What would Dick do? What would Billy do? What would Bobby do?" Bochy would ask himself in those quiet moments.

None of them could have saved Bochy's Giants this weekend. They fell flat again Sunday, losing 7-4 to the Kansas City Royals to give a dispiriting end to a trip that started with so much promise. The Giants have lost four straight and are a season-high 41/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Once the best team in baseball, the Giants have found countless ways to lose while dropping 35 of their last 55 games. Sunday's variation was a new one. The streaking Royals ran the Giants right out of town.

A Kansas City player had not stolen three bases in a game since 2010, when current Giant Gregor Blanco did it. Nori Aoki and Jarrod Dyson each swiped three Sunday, and the Royals had seven as a team for the first time since 1998.

"It was one of those things where you get caught in a whirlwind," catcher Andrew Susac said. "They've got fast guys, and guys were getting good jumps and taking advantage of their speed."

Tim Lincecum shouldered most of the blame after a start that lasted just 31/3 innings. Five of the seven stolen bases came with him on the mound.


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"I felt like they were running on me at will," he said. "You get so much attention on your game plan you (that) forget to remember the base runners, and I think that's kind of what happened today."

When Lincecum wasn't watching Susac try in vain to gun down a runner who had gotten a great jump, he was watching his pitches fly all over the yard. The Royals had three hits, including an Alex Gordon homer, in a four-run first inning. Lincecum was charged with seven hits and six earned runs. The Royals redirected his focus from the plate to the bases and jumped all over the subsequent location mistakes.

"I'd be lying if I said it didn't affect me a little bit when I tried to go to home plate with runners on base," Lincecum said. "I was just trying to go too quick to the plate. It was just throwing me off. I just didn't slow the game down. I've got to do a better job of that.

"I'm a seven-year vet now. I need to take that under control. That's my responsibility."

The Giants avoided heat and rain for most of an 11-day trip, but the heavy air in Kansas City got to Lincecum and Susac on Sunday. Susac said both he and Lincecum had trouble gripping the ball on throws.

The Giants didn't have any issues gripping the bats -- they just couldn't come up with the big hit when needed.

A collection of rookies kept the Giants in the game, with Susac driving in the first three runs. Bochy has been pleased with the at-bats he's seen from young players such as Susac, Joe Panik, Matt Duffy and Adam Duvall, who was called up Sunday to replace the optioned Juan Perez. But those players aren't supposed to carry this team.

The ones who are continue to come up short. The Giants cut the deficit to 7-4 when Hunter Pence drove in Susac in the seventh, but Buster Posey grounded out with two outs and two on. Posey was hitless in his final 11 at-bats of the series, leaving five runners on base.

Pence came up as the tying run with two on and one out in the ninth but struck out. He was 2 for 13 in the series. After Posey walked to load the bases, Pablo Sandoval lined out.

Ordinarily, the Giants could at least take solace in returning home. But they lost five of six on the last homestand and 21 of their past 28 at AT&T Park. Bochy has held many meetings as the season has spiraled. He has dispensed many messages. This one didn't need to be said out loud. The Giants won't be in the race much longer if they don't soon turn it around in their home park.

"They know what needs to be done," Bochy said. "There's no excuse or reason for our struggles at home."

Tuesday's game
Chicago White Sox (Chris Sale 10-2) at Giants (Ryan Vogelsong 7-8), 7:15 p.m. CSNBA