St. Petersburg, FL – Elliot Johnson capped a three-hit performance and an eight-run sixth inning with a three-run homer and the Kansas City Royals ran away with a 10-1 victory in the opener of a four-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Miguel Tejada each added an RBI apiece to the rally, while David Lough collected a pair of hits and knocked in two runs to lift the Royals to their eighth victory in nine games.
Jeremy Hellickson (4-3) was charged with all eight runs during Kansas City's offensive attack and dropped his first decision in nine starts. He allowed 10 hits -- eight of which came in the sixth -- and struck out four.
"Eight runs is eight runs, it's unacceptable," Hellickson said.
The Rays had hardly any luck against Ervin Santana (5-5), who dominated over 7 2/3 innings of work. He scattered just five hits and was tagged with an unearned run in the triumph.
"Everything is going our way right now," Santana said. "We have to keep it up and continue to play hard."
There were a combined three hits through the first five innings, but the Royals broke through with three in a row to open the flood gates to the eight- run sixth.
With runners on second and third, Gordon ripped a base hit into center to crack the scoreless tie and Kansas City quickly doubled its edge when Alcides Escobar scored from third on a wild pitch from Hellickson.
That was the beginning of the end for the Rays starter, who then gave up two more run-scoring singles to Perez and Lough before a double from Tejada into left created a five-run cushion for Kansas City.
Johnson, who started the frame with a base hit, put an exclamation point on the outburst by sending Hellickson's final pitch of the evening into the right field seats for a commanding 8-0 Kansas City advantage.
The Rays made a small dent in the bottom of the fateful frame when Jose Molina scored following a wild pitch from Santana and a throwing error by Tejada, but that was all the offensive success they would have.
Eric Hosmer homered in the seventh and Lough knocked in a run after a leadoff double from Lorenzo Cain the following frame to account for the final margin.
The Rays have lost four of their last five games ... It was just Santana's second road victory in six starts away from home this season ... Tampa Bay went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position ... The Rays had only six hits, with Matt Joyce and Luke Scott each accounting for two apiece.