Francoeur, Royals flatten Rays
Kansas City, MO – Jeff Francoeur's three-run home run punctuated a four-run eighth, as Kansas City powered past Tampa Bay, 8-2, in the middle test of a three-game series.
Yuniesky Betancourt added a two-run shot, while Alex Gordon and Billy Butler drove in a run each for the Royals, who have won the first two in the set to erase a weekend sweep at the hands of the Cardinals.
"A lot of times early in the season, we struggled with swinging at balls out of the zone and not swinging at the pitch we want to. We have to realize that with runners in scoring position and less than two outs that the pitchers are in trouble," Butler said of KC's renewed approach at the plate. "We have to make them come to us and not put so much pressure on ourselves."
Bruce Chen (7-6) worked seven innings, allowing five hits and one earned run with a walk and five strikeouts.
Brooks Conrad contributed a solo homer for the Rays, losers in five of their last seven.
Chris Archer (0-2) fanned seven over 5 2/3 innings, but gave up four hits and four runs, all but one earned.
"Overall I think I did pretty well," said Archer, whose first start this year came against Stephen Strasburg. "I made some mistake pitches in that one inning. That one inning, the guy (Yuniesky Betancourt) hit it over the wall."
The hosts turned a two-run lead into a six-run final thanks to an explosion in their final at-bat.
Brandon Gomes took the hill for Archer and served up a leadoff double to Gordon and intentionally walked Mike Moustakas two batters later. Butler followed with a single to bring in Gordon then Francoeur buried a ball deep in left field to make it 8-2.
Francisley Bueno turned in a scoreless ninth to lock down the victory.
The Rays picked up single runs in the first and second innings as Hideki Matsui plated Carlos Pena with a fly to center aided by Royals catcher Brayan Pena's error in the former and Conrad belted a two-out solo homer in the latter.
KC struck back with four in the third on Alcides Escobar's RBI double, a Sean Rodriguez fielding error on a Gordon grounder and a two-run homer from Betancourt.
Kansas City has won four of its last five home games against Tampa Bay...Chen raised his career record with the Royals to 32-27 by posting his first win over the Rays since October 1, 2010...Francoeur's three RBI was a season high and his most since driving in three last September 17 against the White Sox.