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Keller and bullpen roughed up as Rays take game one, 8-5

It was closer than it looked.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After traveling to St. Petersburg last week to take on Tampa Bay for a three-game set, the Royals welcomed the Rays to Kauffman Stadium for a four-game series on Monday night. Never rebounding from a rough start by Brad Keller, Kansas City fell in game one, 8-5.

Getting the “opener” treatment in the form of Ryne Stanek, the Royals countered with the arm of Keller, who just concluded his suspension after dropping the appeal last Tuesday. Known for their quick-striking offense in the first inning, Keller was tagged for a run in the top of the first on an RBI-single from Yandy Diaz. In the ensuing inning after the Royals were retired in order, Tampa Bay took advantage of Keller’s poor command. Knocking him around for three runs, Kansas City dug themselves into a 4-0 hole before their order even made it to the cleanup man.

As the Rays brought in Yonny Chirinos for Stanek with one out in the second, the tides suddenly shifted. In the bottom third, the Royals capitalized on a dropped infield pop-up and a one-out walk. With runners at first and second, Adalberto Mondesi ripped a triple into the right field corner to plate two. Alex Gordon followed it up by driving in Mondesi on a sinking liner to center field that sent Kevin Kiermaier down to a knee. Cutting the deficit to one, Keller responded with a quick 1-2-3 inning.

Stalling on both sides for the most the part in innings 4-6, the fans in attendance were treated to a dramatic long ball in bottom of seventh. Striking out two times in his previous two at-bats, Jorge Soler cranked a solo shot above the fountains in left-center to once again pull Kansas City to a lone run. The ball was estimated at 447 feet and 111 mph off the bat per Royals insider Cody Tapp. Adding a couple of runs late off Scott Barlow and Wily Peralta, the Rays managed to hold their lead in the final innings. Dropping their 20th game in 29 tries, the Royals will look to reach double-digit wins tomorrow night. A rematch of Jakob Junis and Blake Snell will be the matchup. First pitch is set for 7:15 CT.