KANSAS CITY -- A sweep is a sweep. So the Rays were soaring even before they even boarded their flight to Anaheim following Wednesday afternoon's 5-3 win over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium."It's tough to do what we just did, on the road, against any team in Major League Baseball,"
KANSAS CITY -- A sweep is a sweep. So the Rays were soaring even before they even boarded their flight to Anaheim following Wednesday afternoon's 5-3 win over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
"It's tough to do what we just did, on the road, against any team in Major League Baseball," manager Kevin Cash said. "And we played clean games, we got big hits, and we got big pitching performances.
"I think all three of these wins really resemble the style of baseball that we envisioned coming out of camp. Pitching well. Playing good defense, and sprinkle in some timely hitting. I think that's what we did for the most part. And we got some early leads. That really helped also."
Tampa Bay took care of business in the Midwest, sweeping its three-game series against Kansas City to move to 19-22 on the season. The Rays had not swept the Royals here since 2009 (July 17-19).
Based on the climate when they arrived -- after a 17-1 loss in Baltimore on Sunday, the Rays' turnaround could be viewed as splendid. Obviously, the humiliating defeat left no lingering effects.
The offense got going early. Brad Miller grounded out to second in the first to drive home the Rays' first run. Adeiny Hechavarria added a two-run single in the inning to make it 3-0.
C.J. Cron led off the third with his 10th home run of the season -- which traveled a projected 422 feet with an exit velocity of 111 mph according to Statcast™ -- to left field that pushed the lead to 4-0.
Alcides Escobar's sacrifice fly in the fourth got the Royals on the board, but in the top of the fifth, Cron scored when Wilson Ramos grounded into a double play to give the Rays a 5-1 lead.
Rays starter Jake Faria only lasted just 4 1/3 innings after he allowed an RBI double to Jorge Soler and a sacrifice fly to Mike Moustakas in the fifth to cut the lead to 5-3. Fortunately for Tampa Bay, the relief effort that followed by Chaz Roe, Matt Andriese, and Alex Colome successfully covered the final 4 2/3 innings to preserve the win.
"Dreisy [Andriese], he's probably the reason we were able to win that ballgame," Faria said. "He comes in and gives us three fantastic innings. If he doesn't do that, who knows what happens. He's the reason we won that ballgame."
Having started at 3-12, the Rays have a long way to go in the American League East standings. But they have demonstrated resilience already.
"I think the way we started and the way we've bounced back after that kind of shows however many games we happen to lose in a series, it's not going to be the end of the world," Cron said. "It would be nice to be a little more consistent. I think that's what we're trying to do around here. It was a good start. So hopefully that continues."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Faria issued a leadoff walk to Jonathan Jay and the righty struggled throughout his 4 1/3 innings-stint, so left fielder Denard Span's play in the first proved critical. Soler, the No. 2 hitter, flied out to Span, who then threw a strike to second when Jay tried to advance -- making for a 7-4 double play. The significance of the play wasn't lost on Cash.
"The play in the first was huge," Cash said. "Because even from that, the second batter, you could see Jake needed some help. [Span] made a play behind him."
Cron extended his career-high on-base streak to 22 games (dating to April 21), in which he's batting .319/.370/.626 with 19 RBIs. His 10 home runs through 41 team games are the most by a Rays right-handed hitter since Evan Longoria (11 in 2009).
HE SAID IT
"I feel good. Even earlier when I wasn't getting the results we wanted, I felt great. It was good to come out there and win." -- Colome, who recorded saves in each of the three wins in the series, including his ninth of the season on Wednesday
Right-hander Chris Archer will get the nod as the Rays open a four-game series against the Angels at 10:07 p.m. ET on Thursday in Anaheim. Archer, who will oppose lefty Tyler Skaggs, couldn't hold a 3-0 lead in his previous outing at Baltimore that saw him allow three homers. Archer is 5-1 with a 2.55 ERA in seven starts vs. the Angels. At Angel Stadium, he is 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in five starts.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.