Rays 5, Royals 1

Associated Press  |  Last updated August 20, 2012
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Jeremy Hellickson pitched seven strong innings for his first home win in three months and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Kansas City Royals 5-1 on Monday night. Hellickson (8-8) allowed one run and six hits in ending a stretch of seven consecutive home winless starts, dating back to a 2-1 victory over Boston on May 16. Tampa Bay was coming off an 8-2 road trip that concluded with a four-game sweep over the Los Angeles Angels. The Rays went ahead 4-1 in the fourth on Jose Labaton's RBI single and a run-scoring double from Desmond Jennings off Will Smith (4-5). Hellickson worked out of a two-on, no-out jam in the sixth. The right-hander appeared to have induced a double-play grounder from Billy Butler, but second baseman Ryan Roberts throw after recording an out at second looked like it broke through the webbing on first baseman Jeff Keppinger's glove and wound up behind the bag. Unfazed, Hellickson then got an inning-ending double-play from the next batter, Salvador Perez. Hellickson was the losing pitcher in his last start - despite allowing one run over seven innings - last Wednesday against Seattle when Felix Hernandez threw the Mariners' first perfect game. Tampa Bay reliever J.P. Howell worked a scoreless eighth to extend his team record scoreless streak to 25 2-3 innings. Kyle Farnsworth got the final three outs in a non-save situation. Elliot Johnson put the Rays ahead 1-0 on a run-scoring single in the second. Jennings hit a third-inning triple and scored on Smith's wild pitch as Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead. Smith lasted just 3 2-3 innings, giving up four runs and eight hits. The left-hander had won his previous two starts, allowing two runs over seven innings in games against both Baltimore and Oakland. Keppinger extended the Rays' advantage to 5-1 with a fifth-inning solo homer. Kansas City tied it at 1-all on Alex Gordon's RBI infield single during the third. The Royals completed a 5-1 homestand on Sunday, which included a three-game sweep over the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox this past weekend. Notes: Rays manager Joe Maddon expects 3B Evan Longoria, who has been limited to DH since returning from a partially torn left hamstring on Aug. 7, will play defense later this week. Longoria was rested Monday night. ... Kansas City RHP Luke Hochevar (7-11) and Tampa Bay LHP David Price (16-4) are Tuesday night's scheduled starters. Hochevar is 0-2 with an 11.20 ERA in three career road starts against the Rays. ... Tampa Bay DH Luke Scott (strained right oblique) could rejoin the team Tuesday.
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