Published June 15, 2013
| Sports Network
St. Petersburg, FL – Billy Butler went 2-for-4 with three RBI and Salvador Perez added two hits and a pair of RBI to lead the Kansas City Royals past the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-2, in the second test of a four-game set at Tropicana Field.
Elliot Johnson added an RBI triple and a run scored and Alcides Escobar also knocked in a run for the Royals, who have won three straight and nine of their last 10 games.
"We've had a good stretch, and we just want to keep grinding it out. We want to keep putting good at-bats together and see if we can support this pitching staff that has been great for us all year," Butler said.
Luis Mendoza (2-3) gave up two runs and scattered seven hits over six- plus innings to earn the win.
Matt Joyce hit a solo home run and Evan Longoria had two hits and knocked in a run for the Rays, who have dropped three straight and five of their last six contests overall.
Matt Moore (8-3) was tagged for five runs on seven hits and four walks over 5 1/3 innings en route to his third straight loss. Over his last five starts, Moore is 0-3 with a 9.42 earned run average.
"Their guys settled in, and we started chasing a bit. We had opportunities, but missed them, and just didn't get the start we needed from our starting pitcher," said Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Butler singled home Alex Gordon in the first, but the Rays came back with a pair of runs in the home half to take a 2-1 lead. Joyce clubbed a solo homer and Longoria doubled home Ben Zobrist later in the inning.
Kansas City broke the game open with a four-run fifth inning. Jeff Francoeur opened the inning with a base hit then scored on Johnson's triple to the corner in left field. Escobar followed with an RBI single, and after Eric Hosmer doubled, Perez laced a base hit to center to score Escobar. Butler capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to center to push Hosmer across home plate.
The Royals tacked on two more in the ninth inning. Gordon singled, moved to second on a Hosmer ground out then scored on Perez's double to left field. Butler followed with a base hit to center to push Perez across, making it 7-2.
Kansas City (32-33) has a chance to reach .500 for the first time since the team was 20-20 on May 19 ... Perez has hit safely in 10 straight games ... Moore hasn't won since May 19 ... Tampa Bay has dropped eight of its last 10 games with the Royals ... Earlier on Friday, the Rays reinstated pitcher Alex Cobb from the bereavement list and optioned pitcher Jake Odorizzi to Triple-A Durham.