KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Perez hit two-run homers, Yordano Ventura went five innings in his return from the disabled list, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-3 on Thursday to finish off a four-game sweep.
Ventura (4-6) allowed three runs and four hits and three walks, striking out four. It was his first start since June 12, when an elbow condition began causing numbness in his hand.
Eric Hosmer, Cheslor Cuthbert and Kendrys Morales also drove in runs off Nathan Karns (4-5), the latest Rays starter to get pummeled by Kansas City. The Royals scored at least seven runs in every game of their first four-game sweep since September 2008, against Seattle.
Meanwhile, the Rays were swept in a four-game set for the second time in two weeks, after Cleveland did it June 29-July 2. Tampa Bay has lost 11 of 12 overall.
The Royals were playing their first game without Alex Gordon, one of their hottest hitters, who went on the DL after straining his groin Wednesday night. Jarrod Dyson started in place of the All-Star outfielder, who is expected to miss at least eight weeks.
Nevertheless, the Royals struck first for the first time in eight games this homestand. Hosmer doubled home Alcides Escobar in the first inning, and Cain followed with his two-run shot.
All three runs were scored in the first five pitches.
The Royals tacked on another run in the second when Cuthbert tripled to right.
Ventura was cruising along through four innings, shutting out Tampa Bay — which had not scored a single run to support Karns in his past three starts.
But the Rays finally broke through in the fifth when David DeJesus and Asdrubal Cabrera strung together hits and Kevin Kiermaier walked to load the bases for Rene Rivera, who also walked to score a run.
John Jaso and Grady Sizemore added sacrifice flies to get Tampa Bay within 4-3.
The Royals answered with three runs in the bottom half. Morales hit a sacrifice fly to deep center, and Perez lined his two-run shot into the bullpen in left.
Karns allowed six runs and nine hits in six innings, the latest in a string of lousy Tampa Bay starts. Matt Moore and Matt Andriese failed to make it five innings the first two games of the series, and Chris Archer allowed a career-high nine runs Wednesday night.
Kansas City piled up 33 runs total in the four-game set, more than the reigning AL champions had scored in their previous 10 games combined.
SHH, KEEP QUIET
Cain was ejected prior to the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. It was his second ejection of the season. Paulo Orlando replaced him in the lineup.
Rays: Jaso proved to be the Rays’ hottest hitter after coming off the DL for the opener. He had been out since the first week of the season with a bruised wrist.
Royals: Gordon was at the ballpark and on crutches, though it will be a while before he is able to do anything. The best-case scenario is a September return, manager Ned Yost said.
Rays: RHP Erasmo Ramirez will start against Houston on Friday night.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy will be on the mound against Toronto on Friday night.