The Royals are looking for more early offense Wednesday as they seek their first three-game sweep of the Rays in 11 years.
Kansas City (33-39) scored five times in the third inning of Monday's 8-0 victory in the opener, and came up with four in the third to erase a two-run deficit in Tuesday's 8-2 win.
The Royals were swept over the weekend by St. Louis, but feel they learned from that series."What the Cardinals did to us those three days is what we're doing to the Rays, just adding on and adding on," said right fielder Jeff Francoeur , who hit a three-run homer Tuesday. "It's a good time for us to get going."
Kansas City has seen eight of its nine starters record at least one hit in the first two games, with a total of 22. The Royals last swept three against the Rays from May 15-17, 2001, at Kauffman Stadium.
"Our approach has been great. We're swinging at good pitches, we're hitting balls hard," designated hitter Billy Butler said. "We were struggling before these last three games. It feels good to put up runs."
Tampa Bay (40-34) came to town after sweeping Sunday's doubleheader at Philadelphia. The Rays have lost any momentum after going 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position in this series."We need to score more runs," manager Joe Maddon said.
Royals manager Ned Yost has selected southpaw Everett Teaford (0-1, 5.73 ERA) to start this contest partly because of those struggles. Teaford will be recalled from Triple-A Omaha to temporarily take the place of Vin Mazzaro , who gave up seven runs over 1 1-3 innings in Friday's 11-4 loss to the Cardinals.
"He's been throwing the ball good and we like the lefty matchup against this club over there," Yost told the Royals' official website.
Teaford posted a 3.27 ERA in 26 appearances with three starts as a rookie in 2011. He made three appearances for the Royals this year, starting the last one April 27 and giving up four runs over four innings in a 7-6 victory at Minnesota.
"The thing I like about him is he's got three pretty good pitches he throws for strikes and he competes really well," Yost said.
Maddon will start left-hander Matt Moore (4-5, 4.13), who is 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA in his last four outings. Moore's three-start win streak ended Thursday when he yielded two runs over five innings in a 5-2 loss at Washington.
Moore has never faced the Royals or any of their hitters.
Tampa Bay has drawn 275 walks to lead the majors, but has totaled two in this series after averaging 5.2 over its previous 10 games.
The Royals are actually closer to first place than the Rays. Kansas City is five games behind the AL Central-leading White Sox while Tampa Bay trails the Yankees by 5 1/2 in the East.
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|June 20, 2012||Matt Joyce||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 17, 2012||Matt Joyce||Day-to-Day||Flu|
|June 15, 2012||Jeremy Hellickson||15-Day DL||Right shoulder fatigue|
|June 14, 2012||Luke Scott||Day-to-Day||Mid-back spasms|
|June 12, 2012||Ben Zobrist||Day-to-Day||Bruised right hand|
|June 09, 2012||Luke Scott||15-Day DL||Mid-back spasms|
|Kansas City Royals|
|June 18, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Lateral strain in lower left leg|
|June 17, 2012||Chris Getz||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left lateral leg strain|
|June 07, 2012||Felipe Paulino||15-Day DL||Strained right groin|
|May 26, 2012||Jarrod Dyson||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right hamstring injury|
|May 22, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Left ribcage contusion|
|May 22, 2012||Chris Getz||15-Day DL||Left ribcage contusion|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- On the hottest day this year in Kansas City, dehydration was starting to become a concern. Players were exhausted. Royals manager Ned Yost was starting to feel sorry for Tony Randazzo behind the plate, and he wasn't even the umpire whose face had been bloodied in the game.
Billy Butler 's tiebreaking home run in the eighth was an especially welcome sight, leading the Royals to a 5-4 victory and three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays .
"It was really, really hot out there," said Butler, who greeted reliever Burke Badenhop with his 15th home run. "It was over 100 degrees. Guys were starting to get dehydrated. It was not a good day to go extra innings."
Yost said trainers had IVs waiting in the locker room.
"We were going to start losing guys," Yost said. "We had some guys who were starting to cramp. Eric Hosmer 's elbow was starting to get a little stiff. The umpire was about ready to fall out behind home plate. The heat out there was pretty oppressive. When Billy hit that ball, I was just hoping it was high enough."
Aaron Crow (1-1), the fifth Royals pitcher, was the winner after getting two outs in the eighth as the Royals recorded their first home sweep of the Rays in 11 years.
"It's been hot the last few days," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "But I tell you what, you didn't hear one guy complain. They played right down to the last out. They were great."
Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar also homered for the Royals, who managed to sweep a team three games immediately after getting swept themselves. After a potentially ruinous 12-game losing streak in April, the youthful Royals have fought back to five games under .500 (34-39).
"It would be nice if we made things easier for ourselves once in a while," said Jeff Francoeur . "This is the third time now we've fought back to get to five games under .500, but then we just take a few steps back. Our goal was to get back to .500 by the All-Star break."
The Rays had tied it 4-4 in the top of the eighth after Carlos Pena reached leading off on an error that left first base umpire Brian Gorman wiping off blood. Pena's hot grounder glanced off first baseman Hosmer's glove and struck Gorman on the left side of the face as he was signaling the ball fair.
The veteran ump cleaned some blood off his face but stayed in the game after being attended to by the Royals' trainer. Then Tim Collins walked Jeff Keppinger and Ben Zobrist unloaded a two-run triple.
"He had a little cut," said Yost. "But he's fine. Gorman's fine."
Zobrist was 3 for 4 with three RBIs but made three outs on the bases. He was thrown out twice at home plate trying to score from third on ground balls.
"It's a tough way to end the road trip," said Zobrist. "They (Royals) were playing great over there. They did everything. They hit the ball really well, they pitched well, and played good defense. We couldn't get anything going."
Jonathan Broxton pitched the ninth for his 19th save in 22 opportunities.
Badenhop (1-2) recorded only one out after starter Matt Moore labored through 7 1-3 innings, giving up 10 hits and four runs.
Moustakas, who had two home runs on Sunday, hit the first pitch he saw from Moore in the first inning for his 13th home run. Escobar, who has seven multihit games in his last 12, was 3 for 3 with a double, a single and a solo homer that made it 2-0 in the third.
Yuniesky Betancourt had a two-run single in the fifth as the Royals completed a 3-3 homestand after getting swept by St. Louis.
Just hours after being recalled from Triple-A Omaha, Everett Teaford was charged with two runs on four hits in 5 innings. The left-hander was relieved by Kelvin Herrera with runners at first and second in the sixth and the Rays made it 4-2 on RBI singles from Keppinger and Zobrist before Zobrist ended the inning attempting to steal second.
NOTES: The Royals won't have another home game for 16 days. They open a 10-day, 11-game trip on Friday in Minnesota and then take four days off for the All-Star break. ... The Rays will play 17 of their next 21 at home. ... As soon as the last out was recorded on Wednesday, the makeover began for the All-Star game and festivities in Kauffman Stadium. ... Moustakas made an outstanding play at third to save a run, stopping Elliot Johnson 's hot smash with two out and throwing him out while Sean Rodriguez ran home from third.