Great defense and small ball in the tenth inning helped the Royals secure a 3-2 win against the Rays on Friday night. Nicky Lopez led off the extra frame by bunting the tenth-inning runner to third base, and Michael Massey plated him with a sacrifice fly. In the bottom of the frame, Salvador Perez gunned down Roman Quinn trying to steal third, and MJ Melendez made a diving catch to help Scott Barlow hold onto the win.
The Royals built up a 2-0 lead in the third inning against All-Star left-hander Shane McClanahan when Bobby Witt Jr. blasted his 16th home run of the year following an MJ Melendez walk.
Brady Singer walked three of the first six hitters he faced, but was able to pitch around things. He loaded the bases in the fourth, but managed to get out of the jam and ultimately he tossed shutout frames over the first five innings. The Rays finally got to him in the sixth when Randy Arozarena hit a two-run double to tie the game 2-2. Singer would get through six innings with just two runs allowed with four walks and seven strikeouts. It wasn’t his best stuff, but he was still able to give the Royals a very good start.
Dylan Coleman gave the Royals two stellar relief innings with three strikeouts and no baserunners before Mike Matheny turned things over to Barlow for the ninth. Taylor Walls got to him for a base hit in the ninth, but was out when MJ Melendez gunned him down trying to stretch it into a double, and no other Rays managed to get a hit or walk off him in two innings of work, although he was aided by a terrific catch by Melendez to end the game.
The Royals improve to 49-72 and will face the Rays again tomorrow afternoon at 3:10 CT with Kris Bubic against Drew Rasmussen.