ST. PETERSBURG -- Mike Moustakas' eighth homer of the season proved to be the difference Tuesday night in the Royals' 7-6 come-from-behind win in 12 innings over the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Batting with one out in the 12th, Moustakas homered on a 1-2 pitch from right-hander Diego Moreno, whom the Rays selected from Triple-A Durham prior to Tuesday's game.
"I was focussed and ready for the call, and ready to do my work," said Moreno through a Rays interpreter. "It was a changeup, but it got stuck in the middle of the plate."
Moustakas' 404-foot barrelled ball had an exit velocity of 104.6 mph with a 22-degree launch angle, according to Statcast™, and finished off a Royals' comeback that saw them trail 5-1 after five innings.
"We haven't been playing great baseball up to this point, but today could've been a huge day for us to come back twice from four runs," Mousakas said. "It was a huge win for us, and hopefully this is a step in the right direction."
Logan Morrison's two-run homer highlighted a four-run first by the Rays. The veteran slugger's 423-foot blast came against Christopher Young and had an exit velocity of 108 mph with a 32-degree launch angle, according to Statcast™. Timothy Beckham and Kevin Kiermaier each had an RBI single in the inning.
The Royals got their first run in the third on a balk by Rays starter Matt Andriese that allowed Jorge Bonifacio to score from third. Rays manager Cash got ejected in the aftermath of the call.
The Rays added to their lead with Beckham's RBI single in the fifth. Then Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer for the Royals in the top of the sixth to cut the lead to 5-3. Brad Miller countered for the Rays in the bottom half of the inning with his second home run of the season.
The Royals scored twice in the seventh when Moustakas grounded out to drive home Brandon Moss. Eric Hosmer singled home another to cut the lead to 6-5. Alex Gordon's RBI single in the eighth tied the score at 6.
"The offense just kept battling all night long," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "They were putting in good at-bats. They had a lot of energy, a lot of confidence that they could battle back in it."
Cash called the game a "tough loss."
"Get out to an early lead," Cash said. "Kind of see it go away. Just unfortunate the way the game played out. We had some late opportunities. We had the right guys at the right time, they just weren't able to come through. They made some big pitches when they had to. They did a nice job of inching their way back into the ballgame."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Andriese escapes: Hosmer and Perez cobbled together back-to-back singles against Andriese to start the fourth. Then the Rays' right-hander got to work. First he struck out Gordon swinging. Whit Merrifield also went down swinging before Andriese completed his Houdini act by striking out Moss swinging to end the inning and maintain a three-run Rays lead.
Sucre's strike: The Royals had already scored twice in the seventh and were again threatening with runners on first and second and Perez at bat. Jumbo Diaz fell behind in the count 2-1 when he delivered ball three, a 97-mph fastball out of the strike zone. But Rays catcher Jesus Sucre alertly threw a strike to Morrison, and the Rays' first baseman applied the tag to Hosmer for the third out.
"I just got a little too aggressive. I've got to be aware of that first baseman coming back especially with their catcher who's got a good arm. That was on me but they did a good job picking me up and that's what good teams do." -- Hosmer, after being picked off by Sucre to end a Royals rally in the top of the seventh
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Miller snapped a 73 at-bat homerless drought in the sixth, his first extra-base hit since April 23 when he tripled against the Astros.
MINOR LEAGUER TRADED
The Rays traded Minor League right-hander Bryan Bonnell to Seattle for international cap space. Bonnell is 0-2 with a 4.09 ERA in nine appearances for Class A Advanced Charlotte this season.
The Rays challenged a safe call when Lorenzo Cain stole second in the 12th inning. After a 1-minute, 14-second delay, the call was confirmed.
Royals: The Royals will hand the ball to veteran Jason Hammel (1-3, 5.53 ERA) for the third game of a four-game set at Tropicana Field starting at 6:10 p.m. CT. Hammel, a former Ray, will look to give the Royals another strong outing from a starting staff that has put together the best ERA (3.26) in the Major Leagues this season.
Rays:Chris Archer (2-1, 3.57) makes his eighth start of the season when he faces the Royals at 7:10 p.m. ET. He's coming off an 11-strikeout performance against the Blue Jays over the weekend. The Royals have had their way with Archer in the past. Archer is 0-4 with a 5.63 ERA in five career starts against the Royals.
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