|Kansas City (54-67)||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||7||0|
|Tampa Bay (68-54) «||0||1||1||2||1||0||0||0||x||5||11||2|
Hellickson pitched seven strong innings for his first home win in three months and the Rays beat the Kansas City Royals 5-1 on Monday night.
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"I thought I was really good," Hellickson said. "Got ahead of guys. Curveball was pretty good. Just threw strikes for the most part."
Hellickson (8-8) allowed one run and six hits in ending a stretch of seven consecutive home winless starts, dating back to a 2-1 victory over Boston on May 16.
"It all started with the pitching," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I think [Hellickson] set the tone. He was sharp."
Tampa Bay was coming off an 8-2 road trip that concluded with a four-game sweep over the Los Angeles Angels. The Rays had a 3.73 ERA before the All-Star break but have had 2.32 ERA since, lowering their season mark to an AL-best 3.31
Hellickson worked out of a two-on, no-out jam in the sixth. The right-hander appeared to have induced a double-play grounder from Billy Butler, but second baseman Ryan Roberts throw after recording an out at second broke through the webbing on first baseman Jeff Keppinger's glove and wound up behind the bag. Unfazed, Hellickson then got an inning-ending double-play from the next batter, Salvador Perez.
"I'm sure that glove may have Kepp's first first baseman's glove," Maddon said. "It had the old Rawlings label on it, so it was an old glove."
Hellickson was the losing pitcher in his last start -- despite allowing one run over seven innings -- last Wednesday against Seattle when Felix Hernandez threw the Mariners' first perfect game.
"I got some runs early and it's always nice," Hellickson said.
Elliot Johnson put the Rays ahead 1-0 on a run-scoring single in the second. Jennings hit a third-inning triple and scored on Smith's wild pitch as Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead.
Smith lasted just 3 2/3 innings, giving up four runs and eight hits. The left-hander had won his previous two starts, allowing two runs over seven innings in games against both Baltimore and Oakland.
"After the first inning, I was just bad," Smith said. "No location, no breaking ball, which really hurt. I was falling behind too much. I just wasn't any good. You have those days but you hate having them."
Keppinger extended the Rays' advantage to 5-1 with a fifth-inning solo homer.
Kansas City tied it at 1-all on Alex Gordon's RBI infield single during the third. The Royals completed a 5-1 homestand on Sunday, which included a three-game sweep over the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox this past weekend.
"We're playing well, but it's a tough place to play and they're playing very, very well," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Their starting pitching's outstanding."
|The Rays' Jeremy Hellickson defeats the Royals and snaps a run of seven straight home winless starts. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Jarrod Dyson, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.272|
|Alcides Escobar, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.305|
|Alex Gordon, LF||3||0||2||1||1||0||0||.292|
|Billy Butler, DH||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.306|
|Salvador Perez, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.306|
|Mike Moustakas, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.255|
|Lorenzo Cain, RF||4||0||0||0||0||3||1||.262|
|Eric Hosmer, 1B||3||0||1||0||0||1||0||.235|
|Johnny Giavotella, 2B||3||1||1||0||0||0||1||.213|
|RBI - Alex Gordon (48)|
|2-OUT RBI - Alex Gordon (10)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|Outfield Assists - Alex Gordon 2|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Will Smith (L,4-5)||3.2||8||4||4||2||4||0||5.40|
|IBB - Lobaton by Francisley Bueno|
|WP - Will Smith (4), Everett Teaford (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Will Smith 74-45, Everett Teaford 37-26, Jeremy Jeffress 17-11, Francisley Bueno 18-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Will Smith 1-4, Everett Teaford 1-4, Francisley Bueno 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Will Smith 19, Everett Teaford 9, Jeremy Jeffress 3, Francisley Bueno 5|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, LF||4||1||2||1||0||1||1||.251|
|B.J. Upton, CF||3||0||0||0||1||2||1||.248|
|Ben Zobrist, DH||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||.261|
|Jeff Keppinger, 1B||4||1||1||1||0||0||2||.317|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.196|
|Ryan Roberts, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.242|
|Sean Rodriguez, 3B||3||2||1||0||1||1||0||.215|
|Sam Fuld, RF||4||0||2||0||0||1||2||.320|
|Jose Lobaton, C||3||1||2||1||1||0||1||.234|
|Elliot Johnson, SS||4||0||2||1||0||0||3||.250|
|2B - Desmond Jennings (17, Smith), Sean Rodriguez (14, Smith), Sam Fuld (3, Bueno)|
|3B - Desmond Jennings (4, Smith)|
|HR - Jeff Keppinger (6, Teaford)|
|RBI - Desmond Jennings (37), Jeff Keppinger (28), Jose Lobaton (17), Elliot Johnson (30)|
|2-OUT RBI - Elliot Johnson (7)|
|SB - B.J. Upton (23, 2nd base off Smith/Perez)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - S. Rodriguez-Roberts-Keppinger, S. Rodriguez-Roberts-Keppinger|
|E - Elliot Johnson (11, Throwing), Jeff Keppinger (3, Missed catch of throw)|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Jeremy Hellickson (W,8-8)||7||6||1||1||1||6||0||3.28|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hellickson 98-65, J.P. Howell 16-9, Kyle Farnsworth 11-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Hellickson 7-7, J.P. Howell 3-0, Kyle Farnsworth 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Jeremy Hellickson 27, J.P. Howell 3, Kyle Farnsworth 4|
|Attendance - 9913|
|Game Time - 2:46|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Scott Barry, Third Base - Jerry Meals|