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Rays’ bats ruin Singer’s homecoming

That one stung.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rays bats started early and that was enough for them as they take the series with a 7-2 victory. Brady Singer made his first MLB start in his home state and unfortunately for him it was a short outing thanks to too many free passes and timely hitting by Austin Meadows and company.

Shane McClanahan looked good early getting a quick first inning, the only blemish was a two-out single by Salvador Perez who was the DH today. Andrew Benintendi left him stranded, striking out on a high fastball.

Brady Singer seemed to have nerves in the first inning, putting himself into an early jam. After striking out Randy Arozarena. Then, the trouble began with Singer hitting Brandon Lowe in the toe on a bad slider. A walk to Ji-Man Choi followed putting runners on first and second with one out when Austin Meadows came up to bat. The left-fielder roped a triple to the wall, scoring both baserunners. With the infield in, Joey Wendle grounded to short where Adalberto Mondesi bobbled then made a bad throw home. Meadows was safe at home and Wendle was safe at first leaving still just one out in the inning. Catcher Cam Gallagher helped the damage gunning down the attempted stealer at second. Taylor Walls ended the inning with a long fly ball.

Rays up early 3-0.

In the bottom of the second, Singer seemed to calm down, making for a quick second inning.

In the top of the third, Michael A. Taylor singled on a terrific bunt for a hit. Unfortunately, Gallagher followed that up with a 6-4-3 double play. A Whit Merrifield line out to former Royals Brett Phillips ended the inning.

Lowe and Meadows hurt the Royals again in the third. Lowe worked a long count then walked. After a stolen base and Choi strike out, Meadow came up with two outs and Lowe on second. Meadows took a hanging breaking ball over the middle of the plate and drove it over the right field wall. Through three innings, Meadow already crossed off the hardest half of a cycle.

Joey Wendle was up next. After working the count to 3-2, Wendle drove it off the top of the wall just missing the soaring Michael A. Taylor’s glove. Wendle’s two-out double proved to be important when it was followed by a Walls single to right field. That single made Singer’s homecoming a short outing allowing 6 in 2.2 innings. Jakob Junis came in for relief; striking out the first batter he faced, Mike Zunino.

McClanahan continued looking good with a quick fourth inning even allowing a Benintendi infield hit.

Sadly the Rays offense stayed hot despite a new pitcher on the mound. Junis allowed two singles by Kevin Kiermaier and Phillips. Arozarena then hit a sac fly, scoring Kiermaier and advancing Phillips to second with one out. Following the sac fly, Junis walked Lowe and Choi, loading the bases for Meadows.

Junis attacked Meadows with three straight backdoor sliders. With a 1-1 count, Meadows hit a chopper to Gutierrez who started the 5-4-3 double play ending the inning, limiting the damage that inning to just one run.

7-0 Rays after 4.

Fast forward to the top of the 6th inning where Michael Wacha replaced McClanahan who allowed zero runs over his five innings having him in line for the win.

After Cam Gallagher led off with a fly out. Then Hanser Alberto replaced Whit Merrifield in the order and at second base got a single to right field. Carlos Santana started the game at first and was replaced by Ryan O’Hearn in the fifth to rest Santana for the series against the Twins this weekend. Well on his first pitch seen of the day, O’Hearn takes the inside pitch and drives it for a two run home run cutting the lead to 7-2.

In the bottom half of the sixth, Wade Davis came in to boost his confidence after struggling of late and looked good just allowing one hit to Choi.

Davis continued looking good in the 7th as well doing the same that he did in the previous inning allowing just one base runner.

In the top of the 8th, Gallagher got his first hit of the day with a single off Wacha. Alberto moved to 2-2 on the day with a single up the middle making it runners on first and second with one out. Unfortunately O’Hearn ended the short rally with a 4-6-3 double play.

Ervin Santana came in for the bottom of the 8th and looked good 1-2-3 with two strikeouts.

In the Royals last hope for a big comeback, Colin McHugh came in to finish it for the Rays. McHugh started the inning striking out Perez. Jarrod Dyson, who came in for Benintendi, then singled on a bloop down the left field line. Nicky Lopez then battled for a long at bat that resulted in a one out walk. McHugh battles back to strike out Gutierrez and get Soler to ground out.

The Royals will now travel to Minneapolis for a three-game series against the Twins starting tomorrow night.