Mallex Smith and Brandon Lowe drove in two runs apiece, and the Tampa Bay Rays stayed unbeaten against Kansas City in six games this season with a 6-3 win over the visiting Royals on Wednesday night.
Rookie right-hander Yonny Chirinos (2-5) went five-plus innings to get the win, allowing four hits and three runs, all coming on home runs. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.
Chirinos left in the eighth after allowing a two-run homer to Hunter Dozier to cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 4-3. It was Dozier’s sixth home run of the season. Left-hander Jose Alvarado, the Rays’ fourth pitcher of the inning, later struck out Alex Gordon with the tying run at second base.
Smith and Matt Duffy then added RBI singles in the bottom of the eighth to pad the Rays’ lead.
Chirinos followed “opener” Ryne Stanek to the mound, as Tampa Bay continued its trend of using of a reliever to pitch the opening innings. Stanek allowed no baserunners in two innings, striking out two.
Sergio Romo worked the ninth for his 18th save. The game ended when Royals rookie Ryan O’Hearn got his third hit of the night by beating out an infield single with two outs, but Rosell Herrera was thrown out trying to score from second on the play.
The Rays have won four straight games, while the Royals lost their fourth straight, including the first three games of this series.
Leading 2-1 in the sixth, the Rays chased Royals starter Jakob Junis by scoring two more runs, one on a safety squeeze bunt by Carlos Gomez and the other on a single by Smith.
The Royals trailed 2-0 when Whit Merrifield led off the top of the fourth with a home run against Chirinos, Merrifield’s ninth.
The Rays began the scoring with two runs in the second. After Junis got a double-play grounder, Michael Perez singled and Gomez doubled. Then Lowe grounded a single to center to score them both.
In 5 2/3 innings, Junis (6-12) gave up four runs (two earned) on nine hits. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.
Lowe, Gomez, Smith, Duffy, Ji-Man Choi and Kevin Kiermaier each had two of Tampa Bay’s 14 hits. Choi also extended his hitting streak to nine games.
—Field Level Media