MLB

Preview: Rays host Royals in third game of four-game series

TV: FOX Sports Sun

TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A 12-inning game proved chaotic for the pitching staffs of the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.

The teams used a combined 15 pitchers, with all but one available reliever appearing.

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The impact will spill over to the Wednesday contest as the Royals and Rays hope their starting pitchers can provide lengthy outings.

Before Mike Moustakas hit a one-out home run in the 12th inning to give Kansas City a 7-6 win, the teams already called up minor-leaguers to help overworked bullpens.

Jake Junis, promoted before the game, got the win for the Royals in his second major league appearance. Diego Moreno, who made his Rays debut, took the loss after giving up the home run to Moustakas.

Kansas City (21-20) rallied from a four-run deficit to earn its second straight road win after coming into the series with an eight-game road losing streak. Tampa Bay (16-19) has lost three straight to drop three games below .500 for the first time this year.

"I think that's one of the first times all year that we came back for a win like that, especially early," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said after Kansas City escaped a 4-0, first-inning hole. "We knew it was still early and we had plenty of time. Just a good job executing and getting back in the game."

The Rays, who have dropped four of five games against teams with the two worst records in the American League, the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City, will hand the ball Wednesday to right-hander Chris Archer (2-1, 3.57 ERA).

Archer hasn't fared well in his career against the Royals, going 0-4 with a 5.63 ERA in five career starts. It is his highest ERA against any team in the majors, and Kansas City remains one of two AL teams he has yet to beat, the other being the Cleveland Indians.

The Royals counter with former Rays right-hander Jason Hammel (1-3, 5.53 ERA). For his career, he is 2-2 with a 4.26 ERA in six starts against his former team.

Hammel has struggled on the road of late. He is 0-5 in his last six road outings since July.

Tampa Bay had hoped to take advantage of a long homestand against lesser opponents, but they are just 2-5, committing far too many errors and striking out far too often.

"It was a tough loss (Tuesday)," said Tampa Bay center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who had a multi-base error for the second night in a row. "Get a lead right there and a couple of big hits for them was a game-changer. We need to pick it up collectively as a team, and we have to start closing teams out a lot better. It's what we struggle with. Getting a lead and letting it (get) away. We have to be better all across the board."

That will start with which team can overcome its tired bullpen arms, perhaps necessitating a roster move or two to alleviate the lack of fresh options.

The Rays have blown leads in 13 of their 19 losses. Meanwhile, the Royals' relievers are a combined 3-8 this season, but they picked up the win Tuesday, holding Tampa Bay scoreless over the final six innings.