Tampa Bay at Kansas City

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Tampa Bay (12-14)200000000281
Kansas City (14-10) «00000431x8141

Shields stellar against former team as Royals beat Rays

CBSSports.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- James Shields admitted that it felt a little weird when he stepped on the mound for Kansas City on Tuesday night, peered into the batter's box and saw a former Rays teammate standing at the plate.

"That's a team over that knows me real well," Shields said.

Turns out Shields knows them even better.

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After allowing a two-run homer to Matt Joyce in the first, Shields only allowed three more hits over the next six innings. That kept the Royals in the game long enough for Mike Moustakas to hit a go-ahead two-run homer and spur Kansas City to an 8-2 victory over Tampa Bay in the series opener.

"It was pretty obvious the emotion was really, really high," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "James has really bonded with his teammates, and I think his teammates knew how big of a game it was for him."

Kansas City has been looking for a legitimate No. 1 starter for years, and finally made the bold decision in December to acquire Shields and fellow right-hander Wade Davis from Tampa Bay for a package of prospects that included minor league player of the year Wil Myers.

The Rays' career leader in just about every significant pitching category, Shields (2-2) hasn't done anything to disappoint his new organization. He lost 1-0 to the White Sox on opening day, tossed a complete game in a 3-2 loss to Toronto, and has gone at least six innings in every start.

On Tuesday night, he helped the Royals snap a two-game skid and finish 14-10 in April, a dramatic improvement from the 6-15 mark that they carried into May a year ago.

"He looked a little different standing out there in a different uniform," said the Rays' Desmond Jennings. "He was mixing up his pitches -- he was Shields. He's good, man."

Early on, Shields may have been too amped up facing his former team.

Jennings singled off his first pitch and Joyce followed with his homer over the right-field wall. It was the 15th straight game in which Tampa Bay hit a home run, tying the franchise record.

"The first hit of the game, a little check-swing by Des, and I fell behind the count against Joyce, and you can't do that," Shields said. "I knew I had to grind it out."

Meanwhile, Alex Cobb (3-2) was keeping the Royals' scuffling offense at bay.

The Rays' starter allowed just four hits over the first five innings, and at one point, the only ball hit out of the infield over a span of 12 batters was a measly single by Elliott Johnson.

"He threw the ball great for them, mixing his pitches," Moustakas said. "One inning, you know, kind of turned the game around for us."

That inning came in the sixth.

Cobb had retired the first two batters Eric Hosmer doubled and Lorenzo Cain drove him in with a single, snapping the Royals' streak of 15 consecutive scoreless innings.

Moustakas then connected against Cobb over the right-field fence for his first homer since Sept. 14, a span of 129 at-bats. Jeff Francoeur followed with a double and Salvador Perez's RBI single made it 4-2. Cobb was lifted when Johnson singled again, ending his night after 5 2/3 innings.

"When I walked off the mound, I think that was the most angry I've ever been after a game," said Cobb, who pitched into the ninth inning against the Yankees his last time out. "I felt like from pitch number-one, I was going to have a smooth, easy-sailing game and go as deep as I could."

Cobb wound up allowing four runs on 10 hits.

"It fell apart very quickly and that was unusual to see," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Shields was really good. Cobb was outstanding to that moment."

The Royals built a cushion in the seventh off Rays reliever Brandon Gomes. Moustakas hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded, and Hosmer scored from third when Cain stole second and catcher Jose Molina threw the ball into center field.

Francoeur followed with an RBI triple, giving the Royals a 7-2 lead and Shields the rest of the night off. The Kansas City bullpen pitched two scoreless innings to finish things up.

"The guys had my back -- they always do -- and that's what this team is all about," Shields said. "We're real resilient. We had a couple of tough losses, but we fought back hard tonight. We have a lot of character on this team and we showed it again tonight."

Notes

  • RHP Jeremy Hellickson starts Wednesday night for Tampa Bay. RHP Luis Mendoza takes the mound for Kansas City.
  • The Rays activated Luke Scott (right calf strain) from the DL and designated DH Shelley Duncan for assignment. Scott went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
 
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The Royals' James Shields surrenders a two-run homer in the first inning but then blanks the Rays in the next six. (Getty Images)
The Royals' James Shields surrenders a two-run homer in the first inning but then blanks the Rays in the next six. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

J. Shields
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 2
BB 1
K 7
Tampa Bay

M. Joyce
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Desmond Jennings, CF4110021 .227
Matt Joyce, LF4122011 .225
Ben Zobrist, RF4000011 .255
Evan Longoria, 3B3000101 .292
James Loney, 1B4030000 .373
Yunel Escobar, SS4010013 .169
Luke Scott, DH4000023 .000
Jose Molina, C4000011 .212
Ryan Roberts, 2B3010010 .230
Totals3428219  
Batting
2B - James Loney (8, Shields)
HR - Matt Joyce (5, Shields)
RBI - Matt Joyce 2 (8)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Jose Molina (2, Throwing)
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Alex Cobb (L,3-2) 5.21044051 2.55
Jamey Wright 0.1000000 1.69
Brandon Gomes 1333120 5.91
Cesar Ramos 1111100 7.11
IBB - Hosmer by Brandon Gomes
WP - Alex Cobb (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Alex Cobb 88-64, Jamey Wright 3-2, Brandon Gomes 27-18, Cesar Ramos 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alex Cobb 10-2, Jamey Wright 1-0, Cesar Ramos 1-2
Batters Faced - Alex Cobb 27, Jamey Wright 1, Brandon Gomes 7, Cesar Ramos 5
Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alex Gordon, LF5010023 .317
Alcides Escobar, SS5110011 .286
Billy Butler, DH4011011 .257
Eric Hosmer, 1B4210112 .250
Lorenzo Cain, CF4221000 .325
Mike Moustakas, 3B3123000 .195
Jeff Francoeur, RF4121011 .261
Salvador Perez, C4021011 .267
Elliot Johnson, 2B3120102 .200
Totals36814727  
Batting
2B - Eric Hosmer (4, Cobb), Jeff Francoeur (5, Cobb)
3B - Jeff Francoeur (1, Gomes)
HR - Mike Moustakas (1, Cobb)
SF - Billy Butler (1), Mike Moustakas (1)
RBI - Billy Butler (15), Lorenzo Cain (12), Mike Moustakas 3 (5), Jeff Francoeur (7), Salvador Perez (9)
2-OUT RBI - Lorenzo Cain (6), Mike Moustakas 2 (2), Jeff Francoeur (4), Salvador Perez (4)
SB - Alcides Escobar (6, 2nd base off Gomes/Molina), Lorenzo Cain (3, 3rd base off Gomes/Molina), Elliot Johnson (2, 2nd base off Cobb/Molina)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Alex Gordon 1
E - Salvador Perez (3, Throwing)
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
James Shields (W,2-2) 7522171 3.00
Kelvin Herrera 1100010 5.11
Greg Holland 1200010 4.00
Pitches-Strikes - James Shields 102-70, Kelvin Herrera 19-12, Greg Holland 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - James Shields 8-6
Batters Faced - James Shields 27, Kelvin Herrera 4, Greg Holland 4
Game Information
Attendance - 12738
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 79
Umpires - Home - Dan Bellino, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Alfonso Marquez, Third Base - Mike DiMuro