Rays hope to start new shutout streak vs. Royals

Tampa Bay’s shutout streak ended at 27 innings Tuesday night, tying the club record.

But the Rays‘ pitching staff continued its roll behind ace Blake Snell to win their second game over the Kansas City Royals at Tropicana Field.

Now, Tampa Bay sends Ryne Stanek to the mound against Kansas City’s Jakob Kunis in the third game of the series Wednesday night.

Snell, winning his 15th game of the season to further become part of the Cy Young talk, gave up a run in the fifth inning, but struck out 11 through six as he lowered his ERA to 2.07.

The Rays won their third straight to go to four games over .500, matching their high-water mark for the season.

“It’s amazing,” Willie Adames, who had three hits, including a home run, Tuesday, said of Snell (15-5). “You’ve been watching Snell the whole year — he’s been dealing this year. He’s been having a great year — he has great talent.”

And the Rays have allowed one run during the mini winning streak.

Told the 27 innings tied the club mark set in 2013, manager Kevin Cash said, “It’s awesome. And we’re doing it with a bunch of young pitchers. I have no idea when (it was done last) but the guys that we’re asking to do it it’s been a huge team effort, pen effort, starter effort, opener effort. It’s pretty rewarding to hear that.”

Reminded the Rays went to the playoffs in 2013, Cash said, “We better get going.”

The Royals have scored one run in 25 innings since a six-run second inning at Chicago on Sunday.

“We struck out 16 times tonight,” said K.C. manager Ned Yost. “It’s not acceptable. Just way, way too many punchouts.”

Asked about Snell, he said, “He’s tough. He’s an All-Star — not an All-Star by accident.”

Kunis is 6-11 with a 4.76 ERA. He has thrown three straight no-decisions — all Royals losses — but has allowed four earned runs in 16 1/3 innings in the three starts.

He is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in two games (one start) against the Rays. Last year, he struck out 10 in 6 2/3 innings in defeating Tampa Bay.

The current Rays are just 1-for-6 lifetime against Kunis.

The Rays lost Tommy Pham to a dislocated right ring finger in Tuesday’s game. They announced x-rays were negative and said he is day-to-day.

For K.C., Jorge Bonifacio was a late scratch with lower back stiffness. Rookie Ryan O’Hearn, a left-handed hitter, went into the lineup against tough lefty Snell and hit his first home run off a left-hander. That ended the Royals’ scoreless streak at 20 straight innings.

Yost didn’t have much of an update on Bonifacio.

Before the game, Yost said signs are pointing toward Danny Duffy coming off the 10-day disabled list to start the series finale Thursday night. Duffy threw a bullpen session Monday and reported no after-affects Tuesday.

“I’m not going to put it in cement yet,” Yost said. “We’ve still got a couple of days to go, but it looks that way.”

Said Duffy, out with left shoulder impingement that required an anti-inflammatory injection: “It went well. (My shoulder) loosened up as it went. This time of year, everyone has something going on (injury-wise), so I’ll give it a shot.

“I feel like I’m at the point where I’m good. I feel like if whatever percentage I have left in the tank is good enough to dominate; I’ll give it a go.”