After all the offense on display Monday night -- hits, homers, bunts, bloops, and, most of all, scoring -- the Royals and Oakland Athletics combined for three runs on Tuesday night.

However, the Royals still ended up on the wrong end. The Royals fell 2-1 to the Athletics in the second game of their four-game set in front of an announced 13,669 at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals had nine hits and left seven men on base in the loss.

The Royals (46-87) have lost six of seven games, including a 19-4 rout in the series opener on Monday night.

Whit Merrifield and Alex Gordon had two hits apiece for the Royals, who went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

"That's kinda been the story of how it's gone the last while for us," Merrifield said. "We hit balls hard, and they get caught. We can't find a blooper when we need one. Just can't seem to push one across when we need to. Maybe we're saving those all for next year."

Athletics starting pitcher Mike Fiers held the Royals to one run in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five, scattered eight hits and walked two. He left the game with the Athletics clinging to a 2-1 advantage.

Fiers brought a 10-0 record and a 2.44 ERA in his previous 19 starts with him into Tuesday's game. That stretch started with Fiers' second no-hitter of his career against Cincinnati on May 7.

"He's a little funky," Merrifield said. "His delivery has a big tilt to him. His fastball plays up a little bit. I know he's not lighting up any radar guns, but it plays harder than it looks. His big, hard curveball is hard to stay back on. He does a good job. He's been around a long time. He knows how to pitch."

Mike Montgomery (3-7) gave up five runs on eight hits (three home runs) and three walks in his previous outing against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore last week. He'd given up just one unearned run in his previous two starts (13 innings) and struck out 15 in that same span.

Tuesday night, Montgomery allowed two runs (one earned) in 6 1/3 innings. He registered more strikeouts (six) than he allowed hits (five).

"I really wish I had that walk back with the bases loaded," Montgomery said. "Second inning, I was really leaving some pitches out over. After that, I kinda just started executing more. Command got better. I started sequences a little bit better and getting quick outs. My goal was try to rebound and try to pitch into the sixth. I ended up getting into the seventh."

The Royals trailed 2-0 after the second inning. The Athletics scored an unearned run in the first inning when a Cheslor Cuthbert fielding error set up a bases-loaded walk by Chad Pinder to force in the game's first run. The Athletics added the second run the next inning on a Marcus Semien RBI single.

Royals catcher Meibrys Viloria got thrown out at home plate in the third inning, and the Royals didn't score until the bottom sixth when Alex Gordon's RBI double drove in Hunter Dozier to make it a one-run game.

Royals relievers Kevin McCarthy, Scott Barlow and Ian Kennedy didn't allow a hit or a run in the final 2 2/3 innings.

"Our entire pitching staff did a great job of giving us an opportunity to win the ballgame," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We had opportunities, offensively, to pick up a big hit. We just couldn't get it, outside of Gordie's double."