Third Baseman Matt Duffy had three hits & drove in both runs, as the Tampa Bay Rays used five relievers to beat the Kansas City Royals 2-1 on Monday night. The Ray won the first of three games in Kansas City & rebounded from their 17-1 loss at Baltimore on Sunday afternoon. And after allowing 35 runs in Baltimore during a four game series, the Rays pitching staff limited the Royals to one run & six hits.
The Rays jumped out to a first inning 1-0 lead on a run scoring single by Duffy. The Rays threatened again in the second inning, putting runners on the corners with two outs but Leftfielder Rob Refsnyder grounded out to end the threat. Meanwhile, Rays Starting Pitcher Ryan Yarbrough, who picked up his first win as a starter, struggled through the first two innings. He didn’t allow a run in the first or second inning but needed 21 pitches & then 28 pitches to get through those innings. And in the third, the Royals tied the score when Second Baseman Whit Merrifield hit a solo homerun to leftfield.
Yarbrough did rebound well after allowing the Royals to tie the game up by throwing just six pitches to get Kansas City out in the third, with the help of a groundball double-play. And in the fourth inning, he worked efficiently, throwing 11 pitches to work a 1-2-3 inning. Unfortunately for Rays’ hitters, Royals Starting Pitcher Eric Skoglund settled in after allowing four hits in the first two innings. And at one point, Skoglund retired 10 straight batters. But that ended in the top sixth. Rays Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria led-off the inning with a double & after one was out, Duffy singled to right. And although Hechavarria was being held at third, he ran through the stop sign by Third base Coach Matt Quatraro & was able to avoid the tag of Royals Catcher Salvador Perez.
After Yarbrough was able to navigate through five innings, the Rays used four pitchers to get the game to the ninth inning. And those four relievers did not allow a hit. As for the Royals, Skoglund, who took the loss, pitched through the eighth inning, allowing two runs on seven hits, striking out four & walking no one. And when it was time to get the final three outs, the Rays turned to Reliever Alex Colume, who allowed a one out triple, but was able to get a strikeout then a groundout to pick up his seventh save in nine tries this season.
The Rays will look to get their second straight win & third win of the three city road-trip when Left-hander Pitcher Anthony Banda (0-0 0.00) makes his Tampa Bay debut on Tuesday while the Royals will give the ball to Right-hander Ian Kennedy (1-4 4.61). Coverage begins on 620 WDAE with Steve Carney & The Inside Pitch at 7pm. First Pitch is at 8:15 from Kaufman Stadium.