Rays threaten with late rally but come up short against Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — For a moment, Rays manager Kevin Cash thought his club might finally pull out of its slump.

After watching All-Star pitcher Chris Archer get shelled and trailing by five runs entering the ninth inning Wednesday night, Tampa Bay managed to trim its deficit to two, and had runners on second and third with Royals closer Greg Holland on the mound.

The Rays could get no more.

Holland got the final two outs of the game, preserving a rollercoaster 9-7 victory for AL Central-leading Kansas City while handing Tampa Bay its 10th loss in 11 games.

"It’s becoming kind of like a broken record. We keep talking that we’re in a run. We know it," Cash said. "We can’t quite find that break to get us out of it."

Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson hit two-run homers, and Alcides Escobar had four hits for Kansas City, which lost All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon to a strained groin in the fourth inning.

Gordon was hurt chasing Logan Forsythe’s inside-the-park homer.

"He heard it pop, which isn’t good," Yost said. "The doctors didn’t think it detached from the bone, which is a good thing. But it kind of took the wind out of the sails."

Box score

Two innings later, the Royals got their wind back when Dyson countered with his inside-the-park home run. It was the first time there were two in one game since the Cubs’ Sammy Sosa and Pirates’ Tony Womack did it on May 26, 1997.

Archer (9-6) allowed a career-high nine runs and 11 hits over six innings. The right-hander had only given up four runs total in seven road starts this season.

"It’s just disappointing in the fact I didn’t hardly give my team a chance to win. We put up seven runs and when we usually do that we win," Archer said. "That boils down to me not executing pitches. They did find some holes, but they also hit some balls hard."

Jeremy Guthrie (7-5) allowed three earned runs in six-plus innings, and Joe Blanton gave up three runs in the ninth before Holland bailed him out.

"It shows a lot about the club," Cash said. "We get Holland into the game and put pressure on them where we have the lead-taking run at the plate and the tying run at second base."

Forsythe’s home run had knotted the game 2-all, and the Rays added another run later in the inning. But Dyson threw out John Jaso trying to score on a fly out to left field to help limit the damage, and that seemed to pick up Kansas City’s spirits.

The Royals came back with five runs in the fifth.

Cheslor Cuthbert started it off by working a one-out walk, and Escobar lined a sharp single off Archer’s ankle. The Rays’ ace hobbled around a bit but stayed in the game, and appeared to be fine when he fanned Dyson for the second out.

Cain, who had homered in the third, followed with an RBI single deep in the hole behind second base. Eric Hosmer added a run-scoring single and Kendrys Morales, a two-run double before Salvador Perez hit a flare into shallow right field to make it 7-3.

The Royals padded their lead the next inning when Dyson followed a single by Escobar with a line drive into the left-field corner. David DeJesus had trouble handling it and Dyson sped home.

It was the light-hitting Dyson’s first homer since June 25, 2014, a span of 252 at-bats.

"My emotions were, `Run, Dice, run!’" Yost said. "In four years as a third base coach in Atlanta, I don’t think I ever had an inside-the-park home run. To see two in one game, that’s pretty amazing."

ONE-SIDED SERIES

Kansas City improved to 17-5 against Tampa Bay since 2012, including an 11-1 mark at Kauffman Stadium. The three wins this homestand have all come after the Rays scored first.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (strained left oblique) will be activated to start Saturday against Houston, manager Kevin Cash said. Matt Moore will start on Sunday.

Royals: LHP Jason Vargas (left flexor strain) threw 60 pitches in a simulated game. He will make a rehab start for Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Monday, manager Ned Yost said.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Nathan Karns starts the series finale in search of his first win since June 19.

Royals: RHP Yordano Ventura returns from the DL to start for the first time since June 12. He has been out with ulnar neuritis, a condition that caused numbness in his hand.