KANSAS CITY -- Even the Rays' best couldn't tame the Royals, who continued to hit on Wednesday night en route to a 9-7 win, their third consecutive win in the series. The four-game set at Kauffman Stadium concludes on Thursday afternoon.
The Royals (49-33) have won four in a row, while the Rays (43-44) lost for the 12th time in their last 14 games, but not before making things interesting with a three-run ninth. With runners on second and third against closer Greg Holland, Grady Sizemore struck out to end the game.
"Well it's kind of becoming like a broken record," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We're in a rut. We know it. Can't quite find that break to get out of it. But I think it shows a lot about the club to get Holland into the game, put some pressure on them where we had the lead-taking run at the plate and the tying run at second base. It says a lot about the guys."
The Royals, who entered the fourth with a 2-1 lead, were stunned when All-Star left fielder Alex Gordon crumpled chasing a fly ball from Logan Forsythe near the wall. As he lay in pain, Forsythe tied the score with an inside-the-park home run.
Gordon was carted off the field with what the club deemed to be a left groin strain and received an MRI after the game.
"We had a hard time getting refocused," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Guthrie did a great job of, bases loaded and I think nobody out, getting out of it by giving up one with a great play by Dyson … but it was a hard inning for us all to get through."
All-Star right-hander Chris Archer started for the Rays and took a 1-0 lead into the third when Lorenzo Cain hit a two-run homer.
Jarrod Dyson, who replaced Gordon, hit the second inside-the-park homer of the game in the sixth to give the Royals a 9-3 lead. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time two inside-the-park homers occurred in a game was May 26, 1997, when Sammy Sosa of the Cubs and Tony Womack of the Pirates turned the trick.
"Four years at being a third-base coach [with the Braves], I never had an inside-the-parker," Yost said. "It's fun, and let alone to see two of them in one game, it's something that you rarely see anymore."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Cain's big return: After getting the past two days off to rest his left hamstring, Cain went 3-for-4 on Wednesday night with a two-run homer in the third inning and an RBI single that tied the score at 3 in the fifth en route to a key five-run inning for the Royals. He added another double in the sixth. Cain is hitting .395 (30-for-76) with eight doubles, three triples, three homers and 15 RBIs over his past 21 games.
Inside-the-park for Forsythe: Forsythe led off the fourth and hit a ball to deep left-center field. Gordon appeared to have the catch in hand, but his left leg gave out at the last minute. While the Royals' left fielder fell to the turf, Forsythe rounded the bases for his first career inside-the-park home run and the 14th in Rays history.
Archer hit hard: Archer entered Wednesday night's start with a 2.18 ERA. By the time he left the mound after the Royals' two-run sixth, his ERA had swelled to 2.74. That's because the Rays' ace surrendered nine runs on 12 hits and two walks. More >
Dyson strong all-around: After replacing Gordon in left in the fourth inning, Dyson started a double play with a catch and throw home, beating Brandon Guyer to the plate for the second out of the inning. Then with two out in the sixth and Alcides Escobar on first, Dyson drilled his first career inside-the-park up the left-field line. It was Dyson's first home run of the season and the fourth of his career. More >
"We all know Dys, he brings energy is what he brings, but to make that throw he made after that happened [with Gordon], and then to hit the inside-the-park home run, I think it boosted everybody's spirits," Yost said. "And not only the players in the dugout, but the fans in the stands, too."
WHAT'S NEXT Rays:Nathan Karns will start on Thursday afternoon in the finale of this four-game set at 2:10 p.m. ET. In his last two starts, the right-hander has demonstrated an ability to pitch out of trouble. Despite his troubles in each outing, Karns came away with a quality start in both.
Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura will make his return to start the finale against the Rays at 1:10 p.m. CT. Ventura last started for the Royals on June 12 at St. Louis. He has faced the Rays twice with two no-decisions and a 3.27 ERA.