'We never give up': Royals win 8th straight in 11-inning thriller

May 26th, 2024

ST. PETERSBURG -- Once again, the Royals found a way.

The Royals extended their season-high winning streak to eight games on Saturday by pulling out a 7-4 victory against the Rays in 11 innings at Tropicana Field, where they won a series for the first time since 2017.

“It’s going great for us," said designated hitter , who hit a second-inning homer and drove in the game-winning run in the 11th inning on a double. “We never give up. The moment or the situation, it doesn’t matter. We just keep doing what we need to do in order to win the game."

The Royals, on the franchise’s longest winning streak since a nine-game run in 2017, have scored seven-plus runs in six straight games, the longest streak in club history.

“Nothing was really easy today,’’ Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “Both teams were scratching and clawing. We could have possibly done some things earlier to close it out a little bit sooner. But that’s a good team on the other side and they know how to win. They’ve done a lot of winning over the years. I commend our guys for hanging in there.’’

The Royals prevailed in a wild game that saw the teams use a combined 14 pitchers. In the 11th inning, with automatic runner Freddy Fermin at second base, Velázquez slammed an RBI double off the left-center-field wall, bringing in the game-winning run off reliever Richard Lovelady.

Adam Frazier followed with a hard liner off the glove of shortstop José Caballero that caromed into the outfield for an RBI single. Maikel Garcia, who extended his hitting streak earlier to 12 games, tacked on the final run with an RBI single.

Royals reliever Nick Anderson closed out the game by getting Richie Palacios, who was the tying run, to fly out to center.

“Good teams play hard and each guy picks the other one up," said Frazier, whose three hits were a season high. “That’s a recipe for success and that’s what we’re doing. We’re fighting for each other and putting good at-bats together. Pitching has given us a chance in pretty much every game this year. There’s a lot of energy in this clubhouse right now."

The Royals were in position to close it out in the 10th after Vinnie Pasquantino hit a sac fly with the bases loaded and one out. But a strike away from ending it, the Rays tied the game on Jonny DeLuca’s two-out RBI double off closer James McArthur.

“[McArthur’s slider to DeLuca] looked like it was right on the corner from the replay," Quatraro said. “You’ve got to give [DeLuca] credit. He swung and missed at the one before and made an adjustment."

The Royals built an early 2-0 lead after Velázquez hit his fifth homer of the season in the second, and Bobby Witt Jr. drove home a run in the third. Kansas City also scored in the seventh when they loaded the bases off Garrett Cleavinger, but Kyle Isbel left the game that inning after fouling a pitch off his face. Dairon Blanco came in and drove in a run with a sac fly after replacing Isbel in an 0-1 count.

Brady Singer, for the fifth time in his past six outings, allowed no more than one earned run, but the Rays scratched across an unearned run following Singer’s error on a pickoff play to second base in the fifth inning.

Singer lasted five innings, allowing just four hits and striking out three on 90 pitches.

“I had to go through a lot of pitches that kind of took away from getting deep in the game," Singer said. “I had to grind through some innings. But our offense is really putting up some numbers. We’re finding lots of ways to win. It’s something we’ve been doing all season long. We kept fighting and clawing our way back."