Rays Make It Four In A Row With Win Over Royals


ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- Mallex Smith and Brandon Lowe each drove in a pair of runs as the Tampa Bay Rays used a 14-hit barrage to earn its fourth straight victory, defeating the Kansas City Royals 6-3 Wednesday at Tropicana Field to get to five games over .500 for the first time this year.

After Ryne Stanek got the first six Royals hitters to go in order, Tampa Bay would break open the scoring in the home half of the second, as Michael Perez started a two-out rally against Jakob Junis with a base hit, moving to third on a double by Carlos Gomez.  Lowe then dribbled a ground ball back through the box and in to center field, bringing in both runners for a 2-0 lead.

Yonny Chirinos worked a perfect third inning, but Kansas City cut the lead back to a single run when Whit Merrifield led off the top of the fourth with a solo home run off the left field foul pole, his ninth home run of the season.

Tampa Bay held on to that one-run advantage until the sixth, when Willy Adames reached on a single and moved to third when Merrifield couldn't cleanly field a ground ball by Perez.  Gomez then executed a safety squeeze to plate Adames for a 3-1 lead, and after Lowe singled Perez to second, Smith followed with a base hit of his own to make it a 4-1 game.

Ryan O'Hearn's two-run homer off Chirinos in the eighth ended the right-hander's night, and manager Kevin Cash used Adam Kolarek, Chaz Roe and Jose Alvarado to get through the inning with the lead.  

Back-to-back RBI singles by Smith and Matt Duffy in the bottom of the eighth pushed the lead back to 6-3, and Sergio Romo worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 18th save of the year.

The win brings Tampa Bay to a season-best five games over .500 at 66-61.

THURSDAY'S MATCHUP

Tampa Bay Rays (66-61) vs. Kansas City Royals (38-89), 7:10 p.m. first pitch with coverage on WDAE beginning at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Crown Eurocars.

Rays starter - RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-3, 4.10 ERA)

Royals starter - TBD


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