ST. PETERSBURG -- One run goes a long way when a team pitches like the Rays have been lately.Monday night, the Rays defeated the Royals 1-0 at Tropicana Field. In the process, the Rays' staff moved their consecutive-scoreless-innings streak to 23. They were last scored on by the Red Sox
ST. PETERSBURG -- One run goes a long way when a team pitches like the Rays have been lately.
Monday night, the Rays defeated the Royals 1-0 at Tropicana Field. In the process, the Rays' staff moved their consecutive-scoreless-innings streak to 23. They were last scored on by the Red Sox in the third inning Saturday night.
"Sometimes you have to win 1-0," Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "The guys did a really nice job pitching, making big plays behind them. No margin of error, but just an outstanding effort by everybody who basically came out of that bullpen tonight."
Ryan Yarbrough, who took over from "opener" Hunter Wood, led the way. The rookie left-hander allowed no runs on two hits and a walk while striking out six in 5 1/3 innings to earn his 12th win of the season.
"It's just been really attacking the strike zone and picking up my tempo a little bit," said Yarbrough of his success. "Getting on the mound as fast as I can. Just really trying to get ahead. Just really trying to keep it simple."
Ryne Stanek and Jose Alvarado followed Yarbrough, each pitching a scoreless inning to finish the game.
"These guys have just been going right after hitters," said Kevin Kiermaier, who says he has the best seat in the house to watch Rays pitchers while playing center field "These guys have been sticking to their plan. Executing big pitches. In big moments. Tonight was another example of that, innings one through nine. It's fun to play behind."
Willy Adames' infield single in the second scored Joey Wendle for the only run of the ballgame.
"As soon as I hit it I was running hard because I knew I had a chance to be safe," said Adames, who initially was called out. The Rays challenged and the call was overturned.
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Yarbrough faced a two-on, no-out jam in the fourth, then escaped by striking out Jorge Bonifacio, Ryan O'Hearn and Rosell Herrera in order to escape the scoring threat.
THREE SAFETIES FOR K.K.
Kiermaier had a season-high-tying three hits. The Rays' center fielder has struggled offensively this season.
"I've been pressing the whole year, and trying to make up for my lost time [on the disabled list] in one swing," Kiermaier said. "I've just been trying to kill the ball the whole year and hit the ball 700 feet. And that's how I get myself out. You learn from things like this. Being hurt. Not playing the way you want to. I'm thankful for it in a way, it's a learning experience."
HE SAID IT
"No, that's definitely not a cliche. It's something that you see a guy do really well. We're all competitive by nature or we wouldn't be here. So we really just want to go out there and do the same thing if not better. I think a little friendly competition in the clubhouse never hurts." -- Yarbrough, when asked if it's cliche to say the Rays pitchers feed off one another.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Tampa Bay challenged in the second when Adames was called out at first on a ground ball to Herrera at third. After a review of 43 seconds, the call was overturned, which allowed the game's only run to score. Kansas City challenged when Kiermaier was called safe getting back to second base on a pickoff attempt in the fourth. After a review of 2 minutes 51 seconds, that call was also overturned.
Blake Snell will start against the Royals Tuesday in a 7:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. The left-hander has turned himself into one of the best -- if not the best, pitcher in the American League. He has command of four pitches, his stuff is electric, and his confidence is sky high. Despite missing a couple of weeks due to left shoulder fatigue, Snell has pitched his way into the Cy Young conversation. Right-hander Glenn Sparkman will start for the Royals.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.