"Anytime you come off a loss like we had in Baltimore, for the guys to be locked in and no margin of error, it shows a lot," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "They come in prepared, quickly washed away what happened in Baltimore on Sunday and found a way to win a one-run game."
But the win did require some last-minute heroics.
With one out in the ninth, Jon Jay tripled to left off Rays closer Alex Colome. The Rays pulled their infield in, but the adjustment wasn't needed as Colome caught Ryan Goins looking at strike three for the second out. Alex Gordon then grounded out to end the game.
"I don't get afraid because I know I have good guys behind me," said Colome, who earned his seventh save of the season. "...I just put in my mind, 'Attack' and try to strike out the guys. And get a ground ball."
Matt Duffy drove in the first run of the game with a single in the first off Royals starter Eric Skoglund. Whit Merrifield homered off Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough to lead off the third and tie the game at 1.
Duffy singled in the sixth to drive home his second run of the game and put the Rays up 2-1.
Yarbrough got out of a jam in the fifth when the Royals loaded the bases with one out for Mike Moustakas. The Rays' left-hander threw a cutter on the first pitch and Moustakas hit a comebacker to Yarbrough, who threw to Wilson Ramos. The Rays' catcher touched the plate then snapped a throw to first baseman C.J. Cron to compete the 1-2-3 double play.
"First pitch with Moustakas being aggressive," Yarbrough said. "Kind of snow-coning the ball a little bit [when fielding it], just trying to make a play. But definitely not how you want to draw that play up for sure."
Yarbrough allowed one run on five hits and three walks while striking out four in five innings to pick up his third win of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Adeiny Hechavarria doubled to lead off the Rays' sixth. One out later, Duffy singled to right and Hechavarria ran through the stop sign at third. Jorge Soler's throw from right field beat Hechavarria by a significant distance, but he slid wide around home. When Royals catcher Salvador Perez tried to make the tag, Hechavarria managed to get his hand to the plate before Perez tagged him and the Rays had a 2-1 lead.
SOUND SMART Duffy is batting .379/.403/.500 in 14 games since returning from the disabled list (strained right hamstring) on April 27, including eight multi-hit efforts.
ROSTER MOVE Right-hander Hunter Wood, who was recalled from Triple-A prior to Monday night's game, was optioned back to Durham afterward to make room for left-hander Anthony Banda to be activated for his Tuesday night start.
HE SAID IT "Running through a stop sign. But I guess he felt like being acrobatic. That was a really impressive slide. But we're probably not going to benefit if we make those decisions too often. But it was nice we did tonight." -- Cash, on Hechavarria's slide at the plate, which turned out to be the winning run
UP NEXT Banda will make his first start with the Rays when he toes the slab Tuesday night in an 8:15 p.m. ET contest at Kauffman Stadium. Banda was the key piece in the spring trade that sent Steven Souza Jr. to the Diamondbacks. Right-hander Ian Kennedy will start for the Royals.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.