|Tampa Bay (12-15)||2||2||1||1||0||0||2||0||0||8||13||0|
|Kansas City (15-10) «||0||0||1||1||2||5||0||0||x||9||15||0|
He grounded into an inning-ending double-play.
Funny thing happened, though: It didn't seem to deter the Royals one bit.
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In the ultimate show of resiliency, Kansas City kept plugging along, scratching away at the Rays' big lead. And by the time the Royals put up five runs in the sixth inning, they were well on their way to a 9-8 victory on a cold, blustery Wednesday night.
"We had opportunities early to get a big hit and just couldn't," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But they just continued to battle, get good at-bats and get in good position until we could break through like we did in the sixth inning."
Elliot Johnson homered against his former team early in the game, but Lorenzo Cain and Jeff Francoeur provided the key hits during that sixth-inning rally. Both of them finished with a pair of RBI, helping Kansas City earn its second straight come-from-behind victory.
"Our goal is to get the first one or two guys on every inning and then let whatever is going to happen, happen," Francoeur said. "Tonight we were able to do that."
"That's a pretty revealing statistic that in 10 of our 15 losses we've had the lead and given them up," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We just can't do that."
Kansas City will go for the series sweep on Thursday, assuming the game is even played. The forecast calls for temperatures in the upper 30s with a good chance of rain or snow.
It was 66 degrees and partly sunny at first pitch Wednesday, but the weather deteriorated quickly. The temperature dropped into the upper 40s by the later innings, and winds gusting more than 30 mph to right field turned every ball hit out of the infield into an adventure.
"When we were in batting practice, we were all in short sleeves and sunglasses, and once the game started it dropped from that point on," Yost said. "It definitely cooled way, way off."
Tampa Bay was hot from the start, jumping out to a 2-0 lead on Joyce and Zobrist's back-to-back homers. The solo shots also gave Tampa Bay at least one homer in 16 straight games, setting a new franchise record.
Kansas City clawed back in the bottom half when Johnson homered over the wall in right field, his first home run since last September when he was still with the Rays.
Scott answered for Tampa Bay with a solo shot in the fourth, but the Royals scored again in the bottom half when Gordon's two-out base hit cut the Rays' lead to 6-2.
Kansas City kept peppering Hellickson in the fifth, this time with a leadoff double by Billy Butler and an RBI triple by Cain. Mike Moustakas followed with a sacrifice fly to center field that allowed Kansas City to get within two runs.
"It looked like we were behind the eight-ball," Butler said, "but we just stayed within ourselves and kept pecking away."
The Royals finally pulled ahead off Jake McGee (0-2) in the sixth.
They loaded the bases with two outs for Butler, who hit a liner right back at McGee that the pitcher managed to knock down but still scored a run. Eric Hosmer then hit a grounder deep in the hole at shortstop, and Yunel Escobar's bobble allowed the tying run to score.
Cain followed with a blooper to center that gave Kansas City the lead, and Francoeur greeted new reliever Kyle Farnsworth with a two-run single that made it 9-6.
Crow pitched a perfect eighth before Holland wrapped up the win.
"The offense was showing signs they were going to be able to get back in it, and they darn-sure did," Yost said, "but both Crow and Chen were pivotal for us tonight."
|Lorenzo Cain, who drives in two runs, crosses the plate twice and finishes 2 for 5 at the plate. (USATSI)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, CF||4||0||0||1||0||3||2||.218|
|Matt Joyce, RF||5||1||1||1||0||1||1||.224|
|Ben Zobrist, 2B||5||2||2||1||0||0||0||.262|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||5||2||3||0||0||2||0||.307|
|James Loney, 1B||5||0||2||2||0||1||1||.375|
|Yunel Escobar, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.173|
|Luke Scott, DH||3||2||3||2||1||0||0||.429|
|Jose Lobaton, C||2||1||0||0||1||0||2||.222|
|Kelly Johnson, LF||4||0||1||1||0||2||2||.229|
|2B - Evan Longoria (5, Collins), Kelly Johnson (1, Mendoza)|
|3B - Evan Longoria (1, Mendoza)|
|HR - Matt Joyce (6, Mendoza), Ben Zobrist (3, Mendoza), Luke Scott (1, Mendoza)|
|SF - Desmond Jennings (2)|
|SH - Jose Lobaton (1)|
|RBI - Desmond Jennings (6), Matt Joyce (9), Ben Zobrist (20), James Loney 2 (13), Luke Scott 2 (2), Kelly Johnson (9)|
|2-OUT RBI - Luke Scott (1)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Escobar-Zobrist-Loney|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Jake McGee (BS,3; L,0-2)||0.2||5||5||5||1||0||0||11.00|
|HBP - Francoeur (by Jeremy Hellickson)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hellickson 91-58, Jake McGee 21-12, Kyle Farnsworth 7-6, Jamey Wright 15-11, Joel Peralta 12-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Hellickson 5-4, Jake McGee 1-1, Jamey Wright 1-0, Joel Peralta 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Jeremy Hellickson 25, Jake McGee 8, Kyle Farnsworth 2, Jamey Wright 3, Joel Peralta 3|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Alex Gordon, LF||5||1||2||1||0||1||0||.321|
|Alcides Escobar, SS||5||1||2||0||0||1||2||.291|
|Billy Butler, DH||5||1||3||1||0||0||0||.278|
|Eric Hosmer, 1B||4||1||1||1||1||1||2||.250|
|Lorenzo Cain, CF||5||2||2||2||0||0||1||.329|
|Mike Moustakas, 3B||2||0||1||1||1||0||0||.203|
|Jeff Francoeur, RF||3||1||1||2||0||2||1||.264|
|Salvador Perez, C||4||1||2||0||0||1||3||.278|
|Elliot Johnson, 2B||4||1||1||1||0||2||3||.208|
|2B - Billy Butler (3, Hellickson)|
|3B - Lorenzo Cain (1, Hellickson)|
|HR - Elliot Johnson (1, Hellickson)|
|SF - Mike Moustakas (2)|
|RBI - Alex Gordon (18), Billy Butler (16), Eric Hosmer (9), Lorenzo Cain 2 (14), Mike Moustakas (6), Jeff Francoeur 2 (9), Elliot Johnson (2)|
|2-OUT RBI - Alex Gordon (12), Eric Hosmer (5), Lorenzo Cain (7), Jeff Francoeur 2 (6)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Moustakas-Johnson-Hosmer|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Bruce Chen (W,2-0)||2||2||0||0||1||3||0||0.00|
|Tim Collins (H,4)||0.2||4||2||2||0||1||0||2.79|
|Aaron Crow (H,5)||1.1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0.00|
|Greg Holland (S,7)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.60|
|Pitches-Strikes - Luis Mendoza 68-43, Bruce Chen 39-26, Tim Collins 23-15, Aaron Crow 23-13, Greg Holland 14-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luis Mendoza 4-4, Bruce Chen 1-2, Tim Collins 1-0, Aaron Crow 1-2, Greg Holland 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Luis Mendoza 19, Bruce Chen 9, Tim Collins 6, Aaron Crow 4, Greg Holland 3|
|Attendance - 11514|
|Game Time - 3:16|
|Temperature - 66|
|Umpires - Home - Ted Barrett, First Base - Alfonso Marquez, Second Base - Mike DiMuro, Third Base - Dan Bellino|