Butler’s HR Lifts Royals Over Rays 5-4
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Thanks to another mammoth home run from designated hitter Billy Butler, the Kansas City Royals completed a three-game series sweep over the Tampa Bay Rays after a 5-4 victory on Wednesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
Butler’s solo HR in the eighth proved to be enough to fend off a late-game rally by the Rays. The Royals (34-39, 14-23 home) are now back within 5 games of .500.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas hit his 13th home run of the season with a solo blast in the first inning that put the Royals up 1-0. Shortstop Alcides Escobar went yard for the second time this season, after a solo HR in the third extended the Royals’ lead to 2-0.
The Royals took a 4-0 lead after second baseman Yuniesky Betancourt hit a two-run RBI single in the fifth.
The Rays (40-35, 19-20 away) got plenty out of starter Matt Moore (4-5, 4.19 ERA), who gave up four runs on 10 hits in 7 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking two. Royals starter Everett Teaford (0-1, 5.06 ERA) gave up two runs on four hits in 5 innings, striking out five and walking three.
Reliever Greg Holland (4.26 ERA) was clutch in the seventh. With runners on first and third, Holland struck a pair to maintain a 4-2 lead for the Royals.
In the eighth, Rays right fielder Ben Zobrist tied the game with a two-run RBI triple to deep right off reliever Tim Collins (3.35 ERA). Collins suffered his first blown save of the season.
Reliever Aaron Crow (1-1, 2.65 ERA) struck out pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui to escape the inning with the score tied 4-4.
In the bottom of the eighth, Butler smashed his 15th HR of the year, a solo blast to left that put the Royals up 5-4. Reliever Burke Badenhop (1-2, 3.34 ERA) got the loss.
Closer Jonathan Broxton (1.52 ERA) recorded his 19th save.
The Royals have Thursday off before hit the road for a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.