Rays roll as Royals’ scoreless streak hits 43 innings
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Logan Morrison went to Kansas City Maple Woods Community College, which counts Albert Pujols as an alumnus.
Morrison did his Pujols imitation Monday night with a home run, a double and four RBIs as the Tampa Bay Rays blasted the skidding Kansas City Royals 12-0.
Morrison hit two home runs Sunday, and his ninth-inning, three-run shot Monday upped his season total to 32. He is known for homering in bunches.
“No idea,” Morrison said on why. “I think if I knew, I wouldn’t be going through the six weeks of not hitting that many. So they just keep coming. Whatever it is, let’s keep them coming. Hopefully they don’t stop until the end of the year.”
He nearly had a home run in the Rays’ six-run third inning, but he had to stop at second after a crew-chief review determined the ball did not clear the wall.
“I thought it was (gone),” Morrison said. “Probably out in any other park, but, oh well.”
Morrison leads the American League with 23 road home runs, which matches a club record.
“We were talking the other day and sometimes getting to those numbers with zeros in it, you see some guys get quiet,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Maybe he got his 30th and now he’s going to catch fire. If he wants to slow down around 40 and pick it back up, yeah.”
Austin Pruitt and Matt Andriese combined on a two-hitter, both allowing a double to Lorenzo Cain.
Pruitt (7-4) gave up a hit in the fourth inning of his six-inning outing. He struck out six and walked one.
Matt Andriese replaced him and allowed only a Cain double with two outs in the ninth. He went the final three innings to record his first save of the season.
The Rays won in Kansas City for the first time since April 8, 2014, snapping an eight-game losing streak at Kauffman Stadium.
“It’s been documented and we need to find a way to win (here), and we did tonight,” Cash said. “Now we’ve got to play a good series.”
Kansas City’s scoreless streak reached 43 innings, five shy of the big league record. The Royals have been outscored 35-0 since Brandon Moss homered in the second inning Thursday against Colorado for the last Kansas City run.
“Were the results there, no,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “They busted their tails until the last out was made. That’s all I can ask for. If you have that mentality, you work your way out of these things. That’s why our guys are able to go on runs because they’ve got that mentality.”
The Royals have hit .160 in their past four games. They have lost back-to-back games by 12-0 scores.
The Rays batted around in the third inning and chased Ian Kennedy (4-10). Adeiny Hechavarria led off the inning with a double. Kevin Kiermaier tried to bunt him over but fouled off two attempts before Kennedy walked him.
Kennedy fell behind in the count 2-0 to Lucas Duda, who drove the next pitch over the right field fence, an estimated 393 feet, for a three-run homer. It was Duda’s 25th home run and his eighth with Tampa Bay. His past four hits have been homers.
Evan Longoria and Morrison hit back-to-back doubles to make it 5-0. Kennedy retired the next two hitters before serving up a fat pitch to Wilson Ramos, who hammered it 436-feet to left-center with Morrison aboard, making it 7-0.
That ended Kennedy’s night. He allowed seven runs on six hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings. He has not won in a club-record 17 consecutive home starts.
“The first two innings felt really good,” Kennedy said. “The last inning, I don’t know what happened there. I missed locations. I missed off-speed pitches, a bad changeup to Duda, a (Morrison) double off the wall that could have been a homer that was on a curveball and the one to Ramos was on a curveball.”
Kiermaier led off the game with a double to shallow center that Cain made a diving attempt to catch. Kiermaier went to third on Duda’s fly out to right field just in front of the Rays’ bullpen fence. Longoria’s sacrifice fly to Cain scored Kiermaier.
The Rays added a run in the fourth, which Hechavarria led off with a triple off Brian Flynn and scored on Kiermaier’s ground-ball single up the middle.
Flynn, who was just called up, left with an injury after finishing his warmup pitches in the sixth. He was replaced by rookie left-hander Scott Alexander.
NOTES: The Rays reinstated RHP Matt Andriese from the 60-day disabled list. He had been out since June 11 with a right hip stress reaction. The Rays sent RHP Chih-Wei Hu to Triple-A Durham, and they designated INF Taylor Featherston for assignment. ... LHP Eric Skoglund, who was charged with seven runs in 1 1/3 innings in the Royals’ loss Sunday at Cleveland, was demoted to Triple-A Omaha. Kansas City called up LHP Brian Flynn from its Pacific Coast League affiliate. ... Royals 3B Mike Moustakas played in the field for the first time in five games because of knee bruise. He missed two games and was the DH in the other two. ... Rays RHP Alex Cobb and Royals RHP Jake Junis are the Tuesday probables.