Kansas City, MO – Billy Butler's solo homer in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted the Kansas City Royals over the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4, in the finale of a three-game series.
Alcides Escobar and Mike Moustakas also homered for the Royals, who swept the Rays for the first time since May 15-17, 2001. Yuniesky Betancourt knocked in two runs.
"We're just going to continue to move forward," Butler said. "We really want to get to .500 before the All-Star break. That's what we're trying to do."
Kansas City starter Everett Teaford gave up two runs on four hits over five- plus innings. Aaron Crow (1-1) recorded the final two outs in the eighth to pick up the win.
Ben Zobrist went 3-for-4 with three RBI for the Rays, who went 3-6 on a nine- game road trip. Jeff Keppinger drove in a run.
"It was tough. It's a tough way to end a road trip," Zobrist said. "They played great over there. They did everything. They hit the ball really well this series. They pitched really well and played good defense. We just couldn't really get anything going."
Matt Moore allowed four runs on 10 hits over 7 1/3 innings. Burke Badenhop (1-2) gave up the homer to Butler to take the loss.
Down 4-0, Tampa Bay finally got on the board in the sixth. B.J. Upton walked and Carlos Pena singled to put men on the corners. Kelvin Herrera gave up an RBI single to Keppinger before getting Brooks Conrad to ground into a double play. Zobrist added an RBI single to center to make it a two-run game.
The Rays tied the game in the eighth. Pena reached on first baseman Eric Hosmer's fielding error, Keppinger walked and Zobrist knocked in both runners with a triple down the right-field line. Crow got the final two outs to keep it a tie game.
With one out in the bottom half, Butler smacked Badenhop's offering over the wall in left-center field to put Kansas City back in front.
Jonathan Broxton worked around a one-out walk in the ninth to pick up his 19th save of the season.
Moustakas and Escobar homered in the first and third, respectively, to give the Royals a 2-0 lead.
Kansas City tacked on two more runs in the fifth. Jason Bourgeois walked and Escobar doubled to start the frame. One out later, Betancourt hit a two-run single to left to make it 4-0.
The Royals recalled Teaford and Bourgeois from Triple-A Omaha. To make room on the roster, Kansas City optioned pitcher Francisley Bueno to Omaha and designated catcher Humberto Quintero for assignment...The Royals outscored the Rays by a 21-6 margin in the series.