Kansas City, MO – Lorenzo Cain knocked in a pair of runs and provided the go-ahead RBI single in a five-run sixth inning, as the Kansas City Royals rallied for a 9-8 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Kauffman Stadium.
Jeff Francoeur capped the big inning with a two-run single and Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas each plated a run in Kansas City's second straight win in this three-game set.
Elliot Johnson added a solo homer and Bruce Chen (2-0) picked up the win with two shutout innings of relief. Greg Holland notched his seventh save with a perfect ninth inning.
Tampa Bay couldn't hold onto an early five-run lead, receiving a shaky effort out of starter Jeremy Hellickson before Jake McGee (0-2) was tagged for all five runs during Kansas City's big sixth inning.
Luke Scott went 3-for-3 with a solo homer, two RBI and two runs scored, Matt Joyce homered for the second straight day, James Loney drove in a pair and Evan Longoria fell a home run short of the cycle, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored.
"We pitched well in the first week or two, we didn't hit. Now we're hitting well and we can't seem to hold the lead," said Joyce.
Kansas City trailed 6-1 after Scott's homer to start the fourth, but Gordon contributed an RBI single in the bottom half and the Royals cut their deficit to two in the fifth before breaking through with a five-run sixth inning.
Butler doubled to begin the fifth and scored two batters later on Cain's triple. Moustakas' sac fly then brought the Royals within 6-4 and they would bat around in the sixth to take the lead.
"We just stayed within ourselves and kept pecking away," said Butler.
McGee replaced Hellickson on the hill to start the frame and quickly loaded the bases by giving up three singles. Kansas City received an RBI groundout from Butler and then tied the game on Eric Hosmer's hit past shortstop Yunel Escobar.
Cain then lifted a soft fly ball into left to put the Royals in front, 7-6, and McGee's walk to Moustakas loaded the bases and ended his night. Kyle Farnsworth took the mound and Francoeur ripped a base hit up the middle to plate a pair and give Kansas City a three-run cushion.
Tampa Bay didn't go quietly, pushing two runs across in the seventh on RBI singles from Loney and Scott off Royals reliever Tim Collins, but ultimately would fall short. Aaron Crow took the mound after Scott's hit and got Jose Lobaton to ground out with a runner on second to end the inning.
The Rays failed to get a runner on base the final two innings.
Joyce and Ben Zobrist hit back-to-back solo homers in the first and the Rays tacked on two more in the second, with Kelly Johnson contributing an RBI double and Desmond Jennings adding a sacrifice fly for a 4-0 lead.
In the third, Longoria's hit into left got past a diving Gordon and went for a triple. Loney followed and lined a single to center to make it 5-0 Rays, but the Royals countered in the bottom half of the frame on Elliot Johnson's leadoff homer.
Kansas City hasn't scored a run in the first inning over its last eight games ... Hellickson gave up four runs on nine hits over five innings of work ... Kansas City starter Luis Mendoza was tagged for six runs on seven hits over four innings ... Tampa Bay was 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position.