KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Bruce Chen threw a two-hitter for his first major league shutout, leading the Kansas City Royals to a 7-0 victory over Tampa Bay that dropped the Rays to second place in the AL East.
The Rays fell one-half game behind the New York Yankees, whose game at Boston on Friday was rained out. Tampa Bay has two games left with the last-place Royals, while the Yankees have to play three at Boston.
Chen (12-7) struck out a season-high seven in his first complete game since April 15, 2005, while with Baltimore against the Yankees. This was the third complete game of his 12-year career.
James Shields (13-15) dropped to 0-4 with a 7.59 ERA in six starts since an Aug. 29 victory over Boston.
Chen became the first Royals left-hander to win 12 games in a season since Charlie Leibrandt won 13 and Floyd Bannister won 12 in 1988.
James Shields (13-15) dropped to 0-4 with a 7.59 ERA in six starts since an Aug. 29 victory over Boston. In that stretch, he has allowed 40 hits and 29 runs, 27 earned, in 32 innings.
The Rays have lost five of six, managing just 29 hits and nine runs in that span. The Rays, who have been no-hit twice this season, were held to six hits or less for the 56th time, the most in the majors.
Sean Rodriguez's bunt single in the third was the only hit the Rays had before B.J. Upton's double with one out in the sixth. Upton was the lone Ray to reach second base.
Shields gave up 12 hits and seven runs in five-plus innings.
Gregor Blanco, who had three hits and three RBIs, knocked Shields out with a two-run single in the sixth.
The Royals scored three runs in the third, which included consecutive triples by Jarrod Dyson and Blanco to lead off the inning. Billy Butler and Alex Gordon contributed run-producing singles in the inning.
Notes: Butler grounded into his major league-leading 32nd double play in the first inning. He is tied with four others for the third-most grounded into double plays in major league history. Jim Rice holds the record with 36 in 1984. Rays 3B Evan Longoria missed his eighth straight game with a strained left quadriceps.