The Tampa Bay Rays (19-9) are back to ten games above .500 after getting a 8-5 win over the Royals (9-20) on Monday night in Kansas City.
The Rays continued their run of success in the first inning - with two outs, Ji-Man Choi drew a walk and then came around to score on a Yandy Diaz RBI single for an early 1-0 lead. The Rays have scored in the first inning in the first three games of this road trip, and outscored opponents 29-4 in the opening frame so far this season. Tampa Bay added three runs in the second inning, including two runs on a triple from Tommy Pham, to build a 4-0 lead and appear they may be off to the races.
Kansas City was not going to go down without a fight, however, as Yonny Chirinos came out of the bullpen in relief of opener Ryne Stanek, and the Royals were able to get three runs off Chirinos in the bottom of the third inning to cut the lead to 4-3. The Rays added another run in the fifth off Yandy Diaz, his second RBI of the game, but again Kansas City was not going down easily. Jorge Soler hit a home run in the bottom of the seven to pull the Royals within 5-4.
In the eighth inning Kevin Kiermaier came up with an RBI single that would lift the Rays to a 6-4 lead, before the Rays really pulled way in the top of the ninth inning on Ji-Man Choi's two-run double. Though the Royals scored one in the bottom of the ninth, the eight run offensive outburst from Tampa Bay was more than enought o hold on to an 8-5 win.
Yonny Chirinos (4-0, 3.48) got the win in relief of opener Ryne Stanek - he pitch five and two thirds innings, allowing four runs (two earned) only only two hits while striking out four and walking one. Royals starter Brad Keller (2-3, 4.07) got the loss for Kansas City, working five innings in which he allowed five runs, all of them earned, on six hits while striking out one and walking three.
The Rays and Royals are scheduled to meet in game two of their four game series on Tuesday night - Tampa Bay will be looking for their fourth consecutive win. Blake Snell (2-2, 2.54) is scheduled to pitch against Jakob Junis (2-2, 5.57). First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 PM - pregame coverage begins with Steve Carney and the Inside Pitch at 7 on Sports Radio 95.3 WDAE & AM 620.