Royals sting Rays on Orlando's walk-off slam

Royals sting Rays on Orlando's walk-off slam

KANSAS CITY -- Rookie Paulo Orlando, just called back up from Triple-A Omaha, belted a ninth-inning walk-off grand slam as the Royals earned a 9-5 win over the Rays on Tuesday afternoon in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader at Kauffman Stadium.

"Obviously not the way you want to start the first game of a doubleheader, a ninth-inning loss," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We did some good things, and we did some not so good things in that game."

It was Orlando's second homer this season and his first career grand slam, and it came off Rays closer Brad Boxberger on a 1-0 changeup with one out in the ninth.

"I just thought about doing my job, fly ball," Orlando said. "Then when the ball went, I went crazy."

Orlando doused after walk off

It was the Royals' third walk-off win in their past four games -- they had not had any before that this season. Meanwhile, the Rays' past four road losses have been of the walk-off variety.

Facing a 5-4 deficit, Kevin Kiermaier tripled for the Rays leading off the ninth against Royals closer Greg Holland. After a strikeout and a walk, Holland uncorked a wild pitch that tied the game. It was just Holland's second blown save this season in 18 save opportunities.

Kiermaier's triple stands

The umpires reviewed Kiermaier's triple when it appeared he may have come off the base and had then been tagged out by Royals third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert. But the safe call was confirmed.

"I thought he was out," said Cuthbert, who got his first Major League hit in the game. "It was a close play."

Added Holland, "I thought he was out. But I was telling myself it was a triple and to get ready [for the next hitters]."

Omar Infante's RBI single with two out in the seventh gave the Royals a 5-4 lead and had come after the Rays could not turn what seemed a rather routine double-play grounder hit by Alex Rios.

Infante's go-ahead single

"Omar's just been giving us some great at-bats lately," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "And did again today. And he got that big walk in the ninth."

Alex Gordon, voted as a starter for the All-Star Game, homered for the Royals, his 11th.

The Rays got homers from Evan Longoria, his ninth, and James Loney, his third.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gordon's toughness: The All-Star outfielder was plunked on the right wrist -- the same wrist that was surgically repaired in the offseason -- with the bases loaded in the second, driving in the Royals' first run. Gordon was examined by trainer Nick Kenney, but he stayed in the game, though he seemed to have trouble squeezing that hand. But Gordon proved he was fine by belting a homer in the fourth to tie the score at 4.

Asked if Gordon was OK afterward, Yost smiled and said, "You think? Yeah, he's OK. Got hit pretty good on that hand, though."

Gordon's no-doubter

Homers matter: The Rays entered the game trailing nine American League teams in home runs, and Kauffman Stadium is a locale where home runs go to die, so seeing homers from Tampa Bay's side appeared less likely than normal. But Loney gave the Rays a 1-0 lead with his third home run of the season, which came in the second off Chris Young. Longoria later tied the game at 3 with a two-run blast off Young in the fourth, his ninth of the season.

Longoria's two-run tater

No double play: The Royals had runners on first and second when Kevin Jepsen entered the game with one out in the seventh and the score tied at 4. Rios hit the ball back to the mound for what appeared to be a sure double-play ball. But Jepsen hesitated before throwing to second baseman Logan Forsythe. Though they managed to get the runner at second, the Rays could not complete the inning-ending double play. Infante then singled through the middle to put the Royals up, 5-4. Forsythe explained that he was late getting to the bag because he first tried to field Rios' grounder.

All-Star effort: Right-hander Kelvin Herrera, a day after he was named to the AL All-Star squad, showed why. Herrera came into the game in the seventh inning with a runner on and none out. After getting the first hitter on a fielder's choice, Herrera gave up a bloop single to center and runners were at the corners with one out. Herrera then turned to his 100-mph fastball to strike out Grady Sizemore and Joey Butler to end the threat.

Herrera maneuvers out of trouble

LOST CHALLENGE
The Royals challenged a safe call in the top of the seventh. With a runner on first, Kiermaier bunted in front of the plate. Royals catcher Drew Butera threw to second for a force, and on the relay to first, Kiermaier was called safe. The Royals challenged and the call was confirmed.

Kiermaier safe call stands

WHAT'S NEXT
Rays: Right-hander Matt Andriese (3-2, 3.24 ERA) will get the start for the nightcap at 7:10 p.m. ET. He is serving as the 26th man for the twin bill and held Boston scoreless over six innings in his last start on June 27.

Royals: Right-hander Edinson Volquez (8-4, 3.48) takes the hill for the Royals in the second game of the doubleheader at 8:10 p.m. CT. Volquez is 6-1 with a 3.71 ERA since May 17. He got a no-decision in his last start, giving up five runs in five innings to Houston.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.