ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Kendrys Morales hit his 15th homer, Edinson Volquez pitched into the seventh inning and the AL Central-leading Kansas City Royals beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Friday night.
Morales put the Royals up 3-1 with a two-run shot in the third off Erasmo Ramirez (10-5) that struck an overhanging catwalk. He has 89 RBIs this season, including a majors-best 46 with two outs.
Volquez (12-7) allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. Greg Holland, the third Kansas City reliever, got three outs for his 29th save.
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Ramirez gave up three runs and six hits over 4 1-3 innings for the Rays, who started play 2 1-2 games back in the crowded second AL wild-card race. Tampa Bay is 1-3 on a six-game homestand.
The Rays closed to 3-2 in the third as Daniel Nava scored when left fielder Paulo Orlando dropped John Jaso's routine fly for an error.
Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash was ejected by first base umpire Brian O'Nora for arguing after the next batter, Logan Forsythe, was called out on a grounder to short with runners on second and third with two outs.
Cash couldn't challenge the call after having an earlier unsuccessful one. O'Nora had another call overturned after a Kansas City challenge in the first inning when Ben Zobrist was called out on what was changed to an infield single.
Kansas City took a 1-0 lead on Orlando's second-inning RBI single. The Rays tied it at 1 in the bottom half when James Loney had a run-scoring double.
Zobrist had the infield single and a double in four at-bats during his first game at Tropicana Field since being traded by the Rays to Oakland in January. Zobrist, obtained by the Royals from the Athletics July 28, played nine years for Tampa Bay and received a standing ovation after a video tribute was shown on the scoreboard prior to the game.
Royals: LF Alex Gordon, out since July 9 with a strained left groin, played in his sixth game with Triple-A Omaha.
Rays: OF Steven Souza Jr. (broken left hand) is looking to return in mid-September. He has sidelined been since Aug. 2.
Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi (6-6) and Royals RHP Kris Medlen (2-0) are Saturday night's scheduled starters. Odorizzi has five straight no-decisions, which ties the Tampa Bay team record set by current Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland in 2000.