Game 123: Bats Get Back on Track to Lift Rays to Series Victory vs. Royals

By Robbie Knopf

The Rays’ bats went on a one-day vacation on Tuesday, costing them an easy win. But the bats came back on Wednesday afternoon to lead the Rays to their second straight series win.

James Shields started for the Rays and they hoped he would give them another great start. Things didn’t start exactly the way the Rays would like as Shields allowed a Salvador Perez double with 1 out in the 2nd and Jeff Francoeur drove him in with a single two batters later. But the Rays came right back the next inning, stringing together singles by B.J. Upton and Matthew Joyce and then an Evan Longoria hit-by-pitch before Ben Zobrist hit a sac fly and Jeff Keppinger notched an RBI single to give the Rays a 2-1 lead.

From the 3rd inning to the 7th, James Shields hit his stride, allowing just a single and a walk over that five-inning stint including a streak of 12 in a row. While Shields rolled, the Rays got him two more runs, with Ryan Roberts doubling a run in the 6th and Ben Zobrist doubling in another run in the 7th to make it a 4-1 game. Those runs proved extremely important as Shields imploded a bit in the 8th. With 2 outs and a runner on 1st, Alcides Escobar lined a RBI triple to pull Kansas City within 4-2, and after Jake McGee entered the game, Alex Gordon‘s RBI single made it a 4-3 game. But Kyle Farnsworth came in to get Billy Butler to ground out to end the inning and keep the Rays ahead. Jose Lobaton slammed a solo homer in the bottom of the inning to make it a 5-3 game before Fernando Rodney worked perfect 9th for the save as the Rays won the game by the same score. Shields (12-7) earned the win, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, striking out 7 while walking 1. Luis Mendoza (7-9) took the loss while Rodney notched his 39th save. This game had the opportunity for disaster as the pitching fell apart a bit in the 8th, but the offense stepped up and to lead the Rays to a win. The Rays take 2 of 3 from the Royals and keep their roll since getting perfect-gamed by Felix Hernandez, 6 wins out of their last 7. The Rays look to continue playing well as the Oakland A’s come into town, with Alex Cobb taking on Tyson Ross in the opener.