By Michael Kolligian and David Wilson
Special to MLB.com |
ST. PETERSBURG -- Powered by a pair of Mike Moustakas RBI doubles and a solid start by right-hander Kris Medlen, the Royals moved to a season-high 31 games over .500 on Saturday night with a 6-3 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Medlen, who improved to 3-0 on the season with the win, allowed three earned runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings while striking out five and walking two. Eric Hosmer snapped an 0-for-13 skid with a run-scoring double in the fourth for the Royals, who are now 6-0 against the Rays this season.
"I've just been seeing the ball good lately. I'm just trying to use my hands to make it as simple as possible," Moustakas said after his 3-for-5 night. "Getting my foot down on time and then using my hands, letting them work."
Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi was tagged for four runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. Kevin Kiermaier lined a two-run homer to right-center in the fourth for the Rays, who have lost 10 of their past 15.
"They did a good job of situational hitting, especially with two outs," Odorizzi said of the Royals, who lead the Majors in two-out batting average and had three two-out RBIs on Saturday. "They've been doing it all year. That's the mark of a good team."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Moose keeps mashing: Moustakas delivered run-scoring doubles in consecutive at-bats in the fourth and fifth innings, giving the Royals third baseman 58 RBIs on the season. He also prevented a sure double in the fifth by diving to his right to snare a ringing one-hopper by Evan Longoria and forcing out Daniel Nava at second. In his past 10 games, Moustakas -- who added an RBI single in the ninth to round out the Royals' scoring -- has hit .436 (17-for-39) with six doubles, four homers and 15 RBIs.
"He's really swinging the bat well," said Royals manager Ned Yost of Moustakas. "He's using the whole field, which is impressive." More >
Rally finisher: The Tropicana Field crowd was only a few minutes removed from a brief ovation for Kiermaier's defense when the outfielder sent the fans into a frenzy with a two-run shot in the fourth inning to put the Rays ahead, 3-2. The home run came moments after Kiermaier helped hold the Royals at two runs in the top half of the inning. With two outs and runners on second and third, Kiermaier caught consecutive shallow fly balls in center and made strong throws to keep first baseman Kendrys Morales at third. The inning ended a batter later when outfielder Jarrod Dyson flied out to left. Kiermaier's 12 assists are tied for the Major League lead among center fielders.
"Big day at the plate for him," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Bright spot." More >
Royal relief: The Kansas City bullpen continued its recent run of dominance Saturday night, as relievers Franklin Morales, Chris Young and Wade Davis held the Rays to one hit over 3 2/3 scoreless innings with six strikeouts and one walk. In the past 12 games, the Royals' 'pen has allowed seven earned runs in 43 1/3 innings, good for a dazzling 1.45 ERA.
"It's awesome. I think there were a couple of 'boos' mixed in there, but it's awesome having the fans that we have coming out and traveling with us and having such a good support system all the way out here in Tampa." -- Moustakas, on the "Moose!" chants raining down from the Tropicana Field stands throughout the night
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Medlen is 12-3 with a 2.12 ERA in 27 career outings (13 starts) in August.
WHAT'S NEXT Royals:Danny Duffy (7-6, 4.13 ERA) will take the ball on Sunday when the Royals and Rays wrap up their weekend series at Tropicana Field at 12:10 p.m. CT. The 26-year-old lefty allowed two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Orioles at Kauffman Stadium last Tuesday, picking up the win in a 3-2 Royals' victory. He is 5-2 with a 3.03 ERA in his past 10 starts.
Rays:Nathan Karns is on the mound for Tampa Bay for Sunday's series finale at Tropicana Field at 1:10 p.m ET. The rookie's starts have alternated between good and bad since Aug. 14, and his last outing lasted just three innings. Karns (7-5, 3.69 ERA) is 5 2/3 innings away from matching his career high as a professional.