Hellickson will try to get off to a strong start and get the Rays back on track on Wednesday night when they continue their road trip against the Kansas City Royals .
James Shields was outstanding in his first start against his former team and the Royals (14-10) rallied for eight runs over the final three innings to open this three-game series with an 8-2 victory Tuesday."It fell apart very quickly and that was unusual to see," manager Joe Maddon said. "Shields was really good."
The Rays (12-14), who did not score after Matt Joyce 's two-run homer in the first, failed to win their third straight and dropped to 4-10 on the road.
Now they'll turn to Hellickson (1-2, 4.31 ERA) to get them back to .500 on this 10-game trip.
After allowing five runs over 19 innings in his first three outings, Hellickson gave up that many in six innings while losing his last start. He struck out eight and walked four in a 5-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.
Hellickson has been outstanding in two starts against the Royals - both at home. He's struck out 13 and allowed two runs over 14 1-3 innings while leading the Rays to a pair of wins.
The right-hander will have to find a way to get out of the first unscathed since eight of the 15 runs he's given up have been in the opening inning.
The Royals, however, haven't scored in the first inning over their last seven games."It's kind of frustrating, but I feel good," Hellickson said. "I just need to throw better pitches."
Mike Moustakas went 2 for 3 with a two-run homer that highlighted Kansas City's four-run sixth inning in the opener.
"One inning, you know, kind of turned the game around for us," Moustakas said.
The third baseman, though, might have a tough time extending his four-game hitting streak considering he's hitless in six career at-bats against Hellickson.
Although Alex Gordon is 1 for 13 over his last three games, he's done some damage with three hits - including a double - in six at-bats in this matchup.
The Royals will send right-hander Luis Mendoza to the mound as they seek their second home series win.
Mendoza (0-1, 5.14) allowed eight runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 8-4 loss to Toronto on April 12 before working 2 1-3 innings of scoreless relief at Detroit on April 24.
He lost his only start against the Rays, yielding two runs and five hits with four walks over 4 1-3 innings of a 5-3 road defeat Aug. 22.
Mendoza will want to be careful with Joyce, who is 6 for 17 with three homers and six RBIs in his last four games.
James Loney is also swinging a hot bat, collecting three hits in three of his past four contests.
The Royals have won eight of 11 at home in this series.
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|April 27, 2013||Jose Molina||Day-to-Day||Knee|
|April 25, 2013||Yunel Escobar||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|March 31, 2013||Juan Carlos Oviedo||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 28, 2013||Jeff Niemann||60-Day DL||Right shoulder surgery - out for season|
|March 24, 2013||Luke Scott||15-Day DL||Strained right calf|
|March 24, 2013||Luke Scott||15-Day DL||Strained right calf|
|Kansas City Royals|
|March 31, 2013||Danny Duffy||15-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|February 12, 2013||Felipe Paulino||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Kansas City Royals were trying to dig out of an early five-run hole against Tampa Bay on Wednesday night, and had the bases loaded with one out and Lorenzo Cain at the plate.
He grounded into an inning-ending double-play.
Funny thing happened, though: It didn't seem to deter the Royals one bit.
In the ultimate show of resiliency, Kansas City kept plugging along, scratching away at the Rays' big lead. And by the time the Royals put up five runs in the sixth inning, they were well on their way to a 9-8 victory on a cold, blustery Wednesday night.
"We had opportunities early to get a big hit and just couldn't," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But they just continued to battle, get good at-bats and get in good position until we could break through like we did in the sixth inning."
Elliot Johnson homered against his former team early in the game, but Lorenzo Cain and Jeff Francoeur provided the key hits during that sixth-inning rally. Both of them finished with a pair of RBIs, helping Kansas City earn its second straight come-from-behind victory.
"Our goal is to get the first one or two guys on every inning and then let whatever is going to happen, happen," Francoeur said. "Tonight we were able to do that."
Matt Joyce , Ben Zobrist and Luke Scott each homered for the Rays, who dropped to 4-11 on the road this season. Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson allowed four runs in five innings.
"That's a pretty revealing statistic that in 10 of our 15 losses we've had the lead and given them up," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We just can't do that."
Bruce Chen (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Royals starter Luis Mendoza , and Greg Holland worked a perfect ninth inning in a light drizzle for his seventh save.
Kansas City will go for the series sweep on Thursday, assuming the game is even played. The forecast calls for temperatures in the upper 30s with a good chance of rain or snow.
It was 66 degrees and partly sunny at first pitch Wednesday, but the weather deteriorated quickly. The temperature dropped into the upper 40s by the later innings, and winds gusting more than 30 mph to right field turned every ball hit out of the infield into an adventure.
"When we were in batting practice, we were all in short sleeves and sunglasses, and once the game started it dropped from that point on," Yost said. "It definitely cooled way, way off."
Tampa Bay was hot from the start, jumping out to a 2-0 lead on Joyce and Zobrist's back-to-back homers. The solo shots also gave Tampa Bay at least one homer in 16 straight games, setting a new franchise record.
Kelly Johnson 's RBI double and Desmond Jennings ' sacrifice fly made it 4-0 in the second, and Evan Longoria 's triple in the third turned into another run on James Loney 's base hit.
Kansas City clawed back in the bottom half when Johnson homered over the wall in right field, his first home run since last September when he was still with the Rays.
Scott answered for Tampa Bay with a solo shot in the fourth, but the Royals scored again in the bottom half when Gordon's two-out base hit cut the Rays' lead to 6-2.
Kansas City kept peppering Hellickson in the fifth, this time with a leadoff double by Billy Butler and an RBI triple by Cain. Mike Moustakas followed with a sacrifice fly to center field that allowed Kansas City to get within two runs.
"It looked like we were behind the eight-ball," Butler said, "but we just stayed within ourselves and kept pecking away."
The Royals finally pulled ahead off Jake McGee (0-2) in the sixth.
They loaded the bases with two outs for Butler, who hit a liner right back at McGee that the pitcher managed to knock down but still scored a run. Eric Hosmer then hit a grounder deep in the hole at shortstop, and Yunel Escobar 's bobble allowed the tying run to score.
Cain followed with a blooper to center that gave Kansas City the lead, and Francoeur greeted new reliever Kyle Farnsworth with a two-run single that made it 9-6.
Tim Collins entered for the Royals and coughed up most of the lead on Loney's RBI single and a two-out single by Scott, but Aaron Crow retired Jose Lobaton to escape the seventh inning.
Crow pitched a perfect eighth before Holland wrapped up the win.
"The offense was showing signs they were going to be able to get back in it, and they darn-sure did," Yost said, "but both Crow and Chen were pivotal for us tonight."
Notes: RHP Roberto Hernandez starts Thursday's series finale for Tampa Bay against Royals RHP Ervin Santana , assuming the game gets played. When told of the forecast, Maddon quipped, "That's not even good football weather." This is the Rays' only visit to Kansas City this season, creating some potential scheduling issues if the game is postponed.