KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Royals’ Alex Gordon has earned four Gold Gloves by making the spectacular look routine, whether it’s a diving catch or robbing someone of extra bases by running into the wall.
Every time, the All-Star left fielder seems to pop right back up.
When stayed down Wednesday night, first baseman Eric Hosmer knew something was wrong.
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”His tolerance of pain,” Hosmer said, ”he can handle a lot.”
In a scary moment for AL Central-leading Kansas City, Gordon had to be carted off the field in the fourth inning of a 9-7 victory over Tampa Bay. He was diagnosed with a severe groin strain, one that manager Ned Yost feared could sideline him for months.
”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.”
Fortunately for the Royals, they got the wind back.
Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson each hit a two-run homer, Alcides Escobar had four hits and Kansas City pounded away on All-Star Chris Archer before holding on for the victory.
Gordon’s injury came as he was chasing Logan Forsythe’s inside-the-park homer, but Dyson countered with another inside-the-park homer two innings later. 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.
”Dyson gave us a big lift, as he always does,” said Jeremy Guthrie (7-5), who allowed three earned runs in six-plus innings. ”He probably saved the game for us.”
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.
Tampa Bay, swept in a doubleheader Tuesday, fell for the 10th time in 11 games.
”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.”
Forsythe’s home run tied it at 2, 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, and that seemed to pick up Kansas City’s spirits.
”We needed to tack on runs right there and we didn’t,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ”Jaso hits a bullet to the left fielder and we’re not at least able to get the sac fly, if not more.”
The Royals came back with five runs in the fifth.
Cheslor Cuthbert started the rally with 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 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 had 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.”
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.
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, Yost said.
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.