EditorsNote: Adds score to lead; adds detail to play by play; other minor edits
Brandon Lowe hit a two-out, two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning off Wily Peralta to lead the Tampa Bay Rays past the host Kansas City Royals 3-1 on Thursday.
The win enabled the Rays to split the four-game series with the Royals after Tampa Bay came into the series having won 10 of 11 games against the Royals.
Peralta (2-2) took the loss. Adam Kolarek (2-0) pitched 2/3 of an inning to claim the win. Diego Castillo pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his fourth save in as many chances.
The Royals welcomed 22,343 fans, their second-largest home crowd of the season, at “School Day at the K” at Kauffman Stadium.
Both starters were good, though neither factored in the decision. Danny Duffy gave up one run on six hits through six innings for the Royals, walking one and striking out six. Charlie Morton was even better. He surrendered only one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings, with nine strikeouts and one walk.
For the first time in the seven-game season series, neither team scored in the first inning. The Royals got on the board in the third when Martin Maldonado beat out an infield hit to lead off the inning. He scored on Whit Merrifield’s triple to the gap in right center two batters later. Maldonado is now 7-for-13 against Morton in his career.
The Rays tied the game in the fifth on consecutive singles by Willy Adames, Nate Lowe and Guillermo Heredia.
Hunter Dozier continued to hit well for the Royals. Since starting the season 3-for-27, he has batted 30-for-69, including 2-for-4 with two doubles Thursday. On the flip side, Chris Owings finished 0-for-22, with 10 strikeouts against Tampa Bay this year.
Merrifield had two triples in the game, becoming the third Royal this season, and the second on this homestand, to accomplish that. Dozier hit two triples April 27 against the Angels, and Adalberto Mondesi did it Opening Day against the White Sox. The Royals lead the majors with 17 triples through 32 games.
Tommy Pham stroked a single in the top of the first, stretching his success in reaching base safely to 61 of his last 62 games, dating back to last season. Since being acquired from St. Louis prior to the trade deadline in 2018, Pham has reached base safely in 66 of 69 games.
—Field Level Media