ST. PETERSBURG -- Two of the Royals' longest tenured players -- third baseman Mike Moustakas and left fielder Alex Gordon -- broke out of their recent slumps to help propel Kansas City to its first extra-innings win of the season.
Gordon, who was hitless in his previous 16 at-bats, knocked in the tying run in the eighth inning, and Moustakas belted the game-winning home run in the top of the 12th to give the visiting Royals a 7-6 win over Tampa.
"I haven't been swinging the bat particularly well right now so I was just trying to get on base for Hos, LoCain and Salvy who have been hot and let them drive me in, but I was able to elevate something and it ended up carrying out of the yard," Moustakas said, referring to Kansas City's middle of the order of Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Perez.
Moustakas, who was hitless in the previous two games, fouled off three straight two-strike pitches from Rays reliever Diego Moreno before smashing a belt-high offspeed offering into the right-field seats. It was his team-high eighth home run of the season but his first in the last 10 games. According to Statcast™, the solo shot travelled 404 feet.
"I was just looking to battle to put a ball in play," Moustakas said. "[Moreno] had some really good stuff, but he just left a changeup up over the plate, and I put a good swing on it."
Gordon had been in an even bigger slump. The veteran left fielder came into Tuesday night's game mired in a 3-for-27 funk. His batting average had sunk all the way to .168.
Perez set the table by leading off the top of the eighth inning with a ground-rule double down the right-field line off Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz. Down 0-2 in the count, Gordon laced a belt-high, 98-mph fastball back up the middle. Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier bobbled the ball just enough to allow Perez to score easily and tie the game at 6.
"That was big for Gordy right there. He'd been struggling a little bit," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Moustakas also singled in the fifth and had an RBI groundout to finish the night 2-for-6. Gordon finished the night 1-for-5 with a walk.
"We needed a way to score runs and they provided it for us," Yost said.
J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg and covered the Royals on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.