The pitching has been so good for the KC Royals as of late. However, nothing went right in the series finale in Tampa, as they lost 5-3.
Starter Luis Mendoza did not have one clean inning, as he threw 81 pitches over just 4.1 innings. He walked four, hit a batter, and balked. The good news was that he limited the damage with all of those base runners.
The only inning the Rays scored against Mendoza was in the 3rd inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Ben Zobrist drove in a run with a sac fly. Jeff Keppinger followed with an RBI single, but Mendoza got Carlos Pena to pop out in foul territory to end the inning.
Meanwhile, the Royals collected just one run early on against Rays starter James Shields. In the 2nd inning, Jeff Francoeur delivered a two out, RBI single.
Shields retired 12 in a row before issuing a two out walk to Mike Moustakas in the 7th inning.
Louis Coleman allowed a leadoff walk to Pena in the 6th inning and Ryan Roberts followed with an RBI double. Lefty Tim Collins entered with runners at the corners and two outs and induced a ground out by Matt Joyce to escape.
In the 7th inning, Kelvin Herrera allowed a leadoff single to Evan Longoria, who was then pinch run for with Sam Fuld. Zobrist then doubled into the right field corner. Francoeur came up with a strong throw to second base, but Escobar flat out missed it, allowing Fuld to score.
Just when the Royals got back into the game, the bullpen again faltered. The Royals scored two runs off Shields in the top of the 8th inning. Alcides Escobar drove in one run with a two out triple. That hit chased Shields from the game and lefty Jake McGee entered. He allowed an RBI single to Alex Gordon to cut the deficit to 4-3.
Aaron Crow entered in relief for the Royals, but allowed a leadoff homerun to Jose Lobaton (his second of the season). It was a fastball right down the middle. After taking a seat on the Rays bench, Lobaton was presented with ice cream from teammate Luke Scott.
Rays closer Fernando Rodney retook the MLB lead in saves on Wednesday, as he retired the Royals in order. Salvador Perez swung at the first pitch and grounded out. Moustakas had a 3-0 count, but Rodney battled back to get Moose to fly out. Francoeur grounded right back to Rodney to end the game. Rodney then proceeded to use his bow and arrow to shoot out something in the Tropicana catwalks.
The Royals have Thursday off before heading to Boston to play the struggling (and controversial) Red Sox.
*For more on the Rays, check out Cowbell Clankers.