Royals’ offense stirs in loss to Rays


August 23, 2018 - 9:47 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — It took Brandon Lowe 20 at-bats to get his first major league hit last week, so the Tampa Bay rookie wasn’t about to let an 0-for-9 stretch bother him.
Lowe came through with a two-out, two-run single in the first inning Wednesday night, and the Rays went on to a 6-3 win over the Kansas City Royals.
“You get up to the big leagues and you feel that you have to go out and prove yourself,” said Lowe, one of six Rays to produce two hits each in the club’s fourth straight win. “I’ve been really stressing, trying to prove I belong here. Yesterday I was able to take a step back and relax and it worked out for the better.”
Lowe is hitting .135 after 11 games, but he feels the worst might be over.
“All you want to be able to do is help the team win,” he said. “I was searching, racking my brain and stressing out. Today I came in a little early, got in the cage and told myself to relax and don’t stress, trust your skills.”
Lowe and Mallex Smith drove in two runs each, and the Rays moved five games over .500 for the first time since July 2017. They had 14 hits, none of them with two outs.
“A lot of good offensive numbers tonight that we kind of needed,” manager Kevin Cash said.
Lowe’s two-run single came off Jakob Junis after hits by Michael Perez and Carlos Gomez.
Junis (6-12) allowed four runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out five. Only two of the runs were earned.
“He’s been consistently sharp, especially the last four outings,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “I expect him to go out and make starts like this, give us a chance to win like he did.”
Whit Merrifield led off the fourth with his ninth home run, the Royals’ first hit of the game, extending his hitting streak to 11 games.
Hunter Dozier added a two-run homer in the eighth, the second of the game off Yonny Chirinos. Dozier’s sixth homer of the season came on his 27th birthday.
Ryan O’Hearn had his first first multi-hit game for the Royals with three of their seven hits, but Rosell Herrera was thrown out at the plate for the game’s final out after O’Hearn’s third hit.
The loss clinched a sixth straight series loss for the Royals, who have lost 16 of 20 games overall and all six games against Tampa Bay this season.


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