Ryan O’Hearn’s throwing error with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning allowed the winning run to score as the Tampa Bay Rays completed a seven-game season sweep of the visiting Kansas City Royals with a 4-3 triumph on Thursday night at St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tampa Bay loaded the bases with one out, and Kevin Kiermaier hit a 3-2 bouncer to first base. O’Hearn threw home for the force, but his throw short-hopped catcher Salvador Perez as Jake Bauers scored the decisive run.
The misplay allowed the Rays to finish a four-game sweep of the series. Tampa Bay has won five straight games while the Royals have lost five in a row.
Mallex Smith had three hits for the Rays, who had 11 overall. Bauers, Matt Duffy and C.J. Cron each had two.
Sergio Romo (3-3) retired all three batters he faced in the top of the ninth.
Whit Merrifield had three of the Royals’ seven hits.
Bauers led off the ninth inning by drawing a walk against Royals left-hander Brian Flynn (3-5). Cron followed by dropping a single into right to put runners at the corners.
Bauers held at third as Joey Wendle grounded out, and Willy Adames was intentionally walked to load the bases prior to Kiermaier’s game-ending grounder.
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy (shoulder) was activated off the 10-day disabled list prior to the game and made the start. He gave up two runs, six hits and two walks while striking out seven in five innings.
Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow fanned eight in five innings. He gave up three runs, five hits and three walks.
Tampa Bay knotted the score at 3 in the seventh and briefly went ahead before a reversal switched a call and ended the inning.
The Rays began the inning with back-to-back singles from Duffy and Bauers before Cron hit a grounder up the middle. Royals second baseman Merrifield was positioned right behind the bag and went to touch it for an out but his throw to first was high, allowing Duffy to score from second with the tying run.
Two walks loaded the bases and brought Kiermaier to the plate, and he hit a bouncer to Merrifield. The throw to second was in time for the second out, and Kiermaier easily beat the throw to first as Cron crossed home plate.
However, Adames’ slide into second was reviewed. The umpiring crew ruled that Adames made no attempt at touching the base as he slid to the right of it and directly at Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar. A double play was called, preventing the go-ahead run from scoring.
—Field Level Media