Luke Hochevar was dominant in Monday's series opener. The Kansas City Royals hope Bruce Chen can give them the same type of effort tonight when they continue their three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays at Kauffman Stadium.
Hochevar (5-7) tossed the second shutout of his career in Monday's opener, as the Royals rolled to an 8-0 victory. He also struck out eight while scattering seven hits and a walk to record his first shutout since September 18, 2009.
"I just felt like I made good pitches tonight," Hochevar said. "I felt [Royals catcher Salvador Perez] called a great game, we played great defense and obviously swung the bats really well. When everything like that comes together, it usually makes for a pretty good night."
Yuniesky Betancourt had three RBI while Eric Hosmer homered and knocked in a pair for the Royals, who snapped a three-game slide.
Alex Cobb (3-4) gave up eight runs on 13 hits in his first career complete game for the Rays, whose bullpen was shorthanded after a day-night doubleheader on Sunday.
"The first three, four innings it was a grind. I felt like everything I was throwing up there was getting hit, almost like they knew what was coming," said Cobb.
Tampa Bay, which did not record an extra-base hit in the contest, lost for the fourth time in six games.
Chen, meanwhile, has won six of his last eight decisions after beating the Houston Astros on Wednesday, holding them to a run and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He is 6-6 on the year with a 4.81 ERA.
"It has been a long road," Chen said. "It always feels like we're trying to catch up to .500. This team is a very good team. Everyone wants to win. The way we've been playing lately has been very, very exciting for us."
In 16 games (11 starts) against the Rays, Chen is 4-2 with a 3.75 ERA.
With Jeremy Hellickson slated to return on Saturday, Chris Archer could be headed back to Triple-A Durham after tonight's start. Archer lost his big league debut on Wednesday in Washington, but pitched well, allowing just three runs (1 earned) and three hits in six innings. He also struck out seven in the loss.
"We're just seeing flashes of what he's capable of doing up the road as he learns to be more of a strike thrower with the kind of stuff he has," manager Joe Maddon told the team's official website. "As he learns to command that fastball where he wants to, heads up man, because you guys saw what kind of athlete he is."
This is the first meeting of the season between these teams, but Tampa won the final five encounters in 2011.