ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Kansas City Royals starter Luis Mendoza didn’t have his best stuff on Wednesday afternoon, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Royals 5-3 at Tropicana Field.
The Rays took a 4-1 lead in the seventh inning on an RBI double by shortstop Ben Zobrist.
An RBI single by Jeff Francoeur gave the Royals a 1-0 lead in the second inning, but Rays starter James Shields kept the Royals in check after that.
Shields (12-7, 4.01 ERA) gave up three runs on five hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out seven and walking one. Mendoza (7-9, 4.26 ERA) surrendered two runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings, walking four and fanning none.
The Royals’ bullpen didn’t have its best stuff either. Reliever Louis Coleman (3.96 ERA) gave up one run on one hit in 1 1/3 innings, walking two and fanning none. In the seventh, reliever Kelvin Herrera (2.53 ERA) gave up one run on two hits.
The Royals (55-68, 29-35 away) made a brief comeback attempt in the eighth, starting with an RBI triple by shortstop Alcides Escobar. An RBI single by Alex Gordon cut the deficit to 4-3.
The Rays (69-55, 34-28 home) answered with a solo home run by catcher Jose Lobaton off reliever Aaron Crow (3.60 ERA). All-Star closer Fernando Rodney (0.77 ERA) shut the door with his 39th save of the season.
The loss continues an era of road woes for the Royals at Tropicana Field, where the club owns a record of 7-26 over its last 33 games played there.
Lefty Bruce Chen (9-10, 5.45 ERA) takes the hill on Friday as the Royals begin a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.