Rays rout Royals to end skid vs. champs

Rays rout Royals to end skid vs. champs

ST. PETERSBURG -- A lot of pent-up frustration got purged Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.

The Rays entered the game with an 0-5 mark against the Royals, and they had lost 12 of their last 13 against the defending World Series champions. But the Rays got busy early, scoring four in the first and never taking their foot off the gas pedal in a 12-0 win.

"Good win, nice to win, finally figured out a way to beat those guys," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "They've given us everything we can handle and more. So it was a nice win."

Steven Souza Jr.'s three-run homer paced the four-run first. Brad Miller hit a solo shot and Kevin Kiermaier added a three-run homer to account for most of the Rays' scoring.

"It felt really good," Souza said. "That's a team that's just kind of picked at us. In Kansas City, they kind of took it to us. And here they scratched out a couple wins that maybe we should have [taken] a hold of. To do what we did tonight, hopefully we can come back and split the series and show where this team is headed."

Jake Odorizzi started for the Rays and continued his recent run of excellence with his third consecutive scoreless start, allowing just two hits in six innings to move to 6-5 on the season. Odorizzi extended his scoreless streak to 20 2/3 innings.

"Odo was outstanding again," Cash said. "He's really gotten on a nice run here, which has been great to see. He had the fastball working at the top of the zone and really threw some good splitters, change, whatever you want to call them, to get some finish at the bottom."

Recap: KC 0, TB 12

Edinson Volquez started for the Royals and struggled from the rough first inning until he made his exit in the sixth inning with eight runs (seven earned) and 11 hits showing on his line, falling to 8-10.

First innings still present puzzle to Volquez

"They got me today," Volquez said. "I didn't have my changeup tonight. I had a good fastball, but my second-best pitch is my changeup, and I had to stay away from the changeup."

Miller's solo home run

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Magic number is 110: Souza entered the game homerless in his previous 109 at-bats. That changed in the first inning when he deposited a 2-2 changeup from Volquez into the left-field stands for a three-run homer that gave Souza his 11th homer of the season and the Rays a 4-0 lead. Souza's homer was his first since June 4 at Minnesota, and he had his first three-hit game since May 31 at Kansas City.

Souza Jr.'s three-run homer

Finally, a walk: When Odorizzi walked Eric Hosmer with two outs in the fourth, it was the first walk he'd allowed since walking Manny Machado in the fifth inning of his July 17 start against the Orioles. Odorizzi had not walked a batter in his previous two starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first Rays pitcher in team history to record consecutive scoreless starts without a walk. More >

Odorizzi's scoreless start

Not a desirable streak: Royals reliever Chien-Ming Wang had a cover-your-eyes outing on July 26, giving up four runs in one-third of on an inning and allowing the final six batters to reach. On Wednesday, Wang could not retire any of the first five hitters he faced, pushing the streak to 11 before he finally got an out. He gave up three runs in the inning and allowed two inherited runners to score.

Dickerson plates Shaffer

No offense, again: One of the main reasons for the Royals' collapse has been a dormant offense. The Royals now have scored 39 runs in their last 15 games -- 2.6 runs per game. The Royals managed just two harmless singles Wednesday and never threatened to score.

Royals manager Ned Yost said it was mostly Odorizzi that did them in.

"Odorizzi hasn't given up a run in like 20 innings," Yost said. "He was really good. He was just really good. He spotted his fastball, 93 mph. Mixed his curve and changeup, and that's a signature changeup.

"And he elevates, uses his fastball up and down."

QUOTABLE
"I don't know if I'm on cloud nine. I don't know if I was real sad about the bad at-bats, bad days, that's part of the season. I'm just enjoying the fact that we're playing really good baseball these last couple of weeks." -- Souza, on his offense

REPLAY REVIEW
The Royals challenged a safe call at second base on a stolen-base attempt by Souza in the third inning. The call was overturned in one minute and two seconds.

Perez nails Souza at second base

WHAT'S NEXT
Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy (6-9, 4.23 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals in the series finale. Kennedy gave up one run over seven innings last Saturday. He is tied with teammate Chris Young for most home runs allowed in the Major Leagues with 26.

Rays: Drew Smyly (3-11, 5.29) will make his 21st start. He's surrendered a career-high 22 home runs this season and has yielded multiple home runs seven times this season. Smyly has made two consecutive quality starts. He is 4-2 with a 4.09 ERA in 14 career appearances against the Royals. On May 31 at Kansas City, he gave up career highs in runs (eight) and hits (12).

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.