Royals Flush Rays, 5-4

KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 27: Hideki Matsui #35 of the Tampa Bay Rays swings and strikes out against the Kansas City Royals in the eighth inning at Kauffman Stadium on June 27, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Matt Moore pitched a fairly average game over 7.1 innings. Like Alex Cobb on Monday, Moore hung around after giving up some runs and saved some bullpen arms. If there's any plus side to getting swept by the Royals, it's that the bullpen got some good rest because they never had to pitch the bottom of the ninth. See, it's not all bad.

As I said, Moore threw 7.1 innings and allowed 4ER, 10H, 2BB, 5K on 98 pitches. The first two runs came off of solo shots by Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar. Moustakas' homer was an absolute beast-shot to center-right-center on a first-pitch fastball. It was thoroughly crushed. Escobar got his in the third, turning on a high, inside pitch and depositing it in the left field bleachers.

Moore's real trouble came in the fifth inning, when he allowed a leadoff walk to Jason Bourgeois and double to Escobar to put runners at second and third with no outs. Moore would sac up and K Alex Gordon, but was unable to get out of the jam as Yuniesky Betancourt chopped a grounder over the head of a drawn in Brooks Conrad to score both runners.

Offense after the jump...

The Rays offense was fairly lifeless against Royals' starter Everett Teaford. Fresh up from AAA Omaha, Teaford, slid by the Rays hitters until the sixth inning when he walked B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena snuck a grounder through the shift to give the Rays first-and-third with no outs. Teaford would give way to Kelvin Herrera who immediately gave up a flair single to Jeff Keppinger that scored Upton.

Brooks Conrad came up in a position to do big things, but decided to GIDP instead. Ben Zobrist would come through, however, and single home Pena on a very similar groundball up the middle. A similar scenario would play out in the eighth.

With Pena and Kepp on and no outs, Brooks Conrad decided just to K looking this time and save an out. It was kind of him. Zobrist would come through again by lining a double to right off Tim Collins and scoring both runners. It's always nice to enjoy a Tim Collins on a hot summer day--that's what old Jack Warner used to say. Things were looking good with Zobie on third and less than two outs, but he was thrown out at home trying to score on a Will Rhymes grounder to a drawn-in shortstop.

The tie wouldn't last for long as groundball specialist Burke Badenhop surrendered a solo home run to Billy Butler to give the Royals the lead and, soon, the win.

  • It seemed like the Rays had all kinds of opportunities to win today, and they just never got the job done.
  • I had a bit of a DVR snafu in the seventh inning and missed the Rays half, but that also appeard to be a missed opportunity.
  • Ben Zobrist had a nice day at the plate, going three-for-four with two doubles and three RBI. In fairness, his first double was a popper to right that landed in the Bermuda Triangle between first, second, and right, his RBI single was a well placed grounder that lead-footed Yuni Betancourt couldn't snare, and he was tagged out on the base paths three times: one caught stealing, and two tag outs at the plate. Zorilla had a good day, but like the Rays today, it wasn't good enough.
  • Rays head home to take on the Detroit Tigers for a four game set this weekend. James Shields takes on Max Scherzer @ 7:10 PM.
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