Shields throws 6-hitter as Rays top Royals 4-0
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — James Shields threw a six-hitter for his major league-best eighth complete games this season, Evan Longoria homered and had four RBIs, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Shields (11-9) also has four shutouts this year. The right-hander is 6-2 in nine career starts against Kansas City.
Longoria drove in two runs on a single during the first and hit a two-run homer in the sixth. He has driven in 12 runs over his last 12 games despite having just nine hits during the stretch.
Jeff Francis (4-12) gave up four runs and five hits over seven innings for the Royals. The left-hander retired 15 in a row after allowing the first three batters to reach base in the first.
The game had a three-man umpiring crew because crew chief Derryl Cousins was unavailble due to a personal matter. The time of the contest was 1 hour, 53 minutes — the fastest nine-inning game in Tampa Bay history.
Longoria put the Rays ahead 2-0 with his two-run single in the first. Desmond Jennings was hit by a pitch and Johnny Damon had a bunt single, and both later scored on Longoria's hit after a double steal.
Kansas City had two on and no outs in the third, but failed to score when Alcides Escobar popped out on a sacrifice bunt attempt and Alex Gordon grounded into a double play.
Melky Cabrera was caught stealing at second in the fourth after Billy Butler struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch. The next batter, Eric Hosmer, walked and became the first player to steal a base this season with Shields pitching when he stole second.
Kansas City has scored just one run in losing the first two games of the four-game series. The Royals were hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position Tuesday and are 2 for 17 over the last two games.
Damon, who entered mired in a 2-for-31 slide, had two hits in four at-bats. The designated hitter, with 2,682 career hits, moved within one of tying George Davis for 65th place on the all-time list.
Notes: Shields was the fifth consecutive starting pitcher with double-digit wins this season that the Royals have faced. ... Kansas City RHP Felipe Paulino (1-4), Wednesday's scheduled starter, has 49 strikeouts and 11 walks — two intentional — in his last seven outings. ... Tampa Bay RHP Wade Davis (8-7) will look to improve on his early-inning struggles in his start on Wednesday. "That's going to be my main goal, to go out and get through it a lot better this time," Davis said. He has overcome bad first innings in his previous two starts to pitch six and 7 2-3 innings, respectively.