The Rays lost the opening game to the Kansas City Royals by a final score of 10-1 to see their record fall to 35-31 and with the victory the Royals record improves to 31-33.
Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 5.67 ERA) took the loss working 5.2 innings giving up 8R/ER on 10 hits striking out 4 and walking 0. For Hellickson it was another game where he was cruising along and then allowed a big inning to get away from him. He retired the first 9 Royal hitters in a row and thanks to a double play ball he faced the minimum through 4 innings. Through the first 5 innings he had only allowed 2 baserunners but things quickly fell apart in the 6th inning.
Elliot Johnson singled to lead off the inning, moved to 3rd on an Alcides Escobar double, and came in to score on a Alex Gordon single that advanced Escobar to 3rd. Escobar came in to score the Royals 2nd run on a wild pitch that also advanced Gordon into scoring position. Eric Hosmer flew out to center for the first out before Salvador Perez drove in Gordon with a single to right. Billy Butler followed with a single that advanced Perez to 3rd.
Only trailing 3-0 Hellickson gave himself a good chance to escape further damage when he struck out Lorenzo Cain for the 2nd out. Unfortunately, like so many other times this year, the inning consumed Hellickson. David Lough single to right to score Perez and Miguel Tejada doubled to score Butler. With the Royals already leading 5-0 and runners at 2nd and 3rd with 2-out Hellickson had to retire Elliot Johnson to give the Rays offense a fighting chance. Johnson gave the Royals the necessary cushion delivering a 3-run homer to right to put the Royals up 8-0 and end Hellickson’s evening.
Jake Odorizzi came and saved the Rays bullpen heading into tomorrows game by working the final 3.1 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits striking out 4 and walking 2.
The Royals offense tagged Rays pitching for 14 hits including multi-hit games by Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, David Lough, and Elliot Johnson who led the charge with 3 hits. Both Johnson and Eric Hosmer hit home runs on the evening. Ellitot Johnson is now 6 for 8 with 2 home runs vs the Rays this season. Every member of the Royals starting lineup scored a run tonight.
The Rays offense was shut down by Ervin Santana (5-5, 2.474 ERA) who in earning the victory was never stressed by the Rays offense in his 7.2 innings of work. He only allowed 1R/0ER on 5 hits striking out 3 and walking 0.
The good news for the Rays is that Matt Joyce continues to hit well going 2 for 4 out of the leadoff spot and Luke Scott going 2 for 2 as he entered the game as a pinch hitter for James Loney. Scott also worked at 1b for the 2nd time this season.
The Rays and Royals will meet again tomorrow night at 7:10 as Matt Moore (8-2, 3.78 ERA) looks to rebound after allowing 15 ER in his last two starts. The Royals will counter with Luis Mendoza (1-3, 4.19 ERA).