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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Royals do Yanks a solid, upset Rays

One of MLB’s worst teams came up clutch against the best team in the league.

Kansas City Royals v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The Yankees fumbled their chances at a sweep mightily, getting clobbered by the Mariners 10-2 in an early rout with not much more to say about it. There wasn’t a whole lot of other MLB action going on alongside them, but there were a couple of notable teams that suited up on Thursday. Let’s dive into what the rest of the league did with their night:

Kansas City Royals (21-54) 6, Tampa Bay Rays (52-26) 5

You would hardly be blamed for not having any faith in the Royals entering this game. The Rays have more wins than anyone in baseball, and the Royals have more losses than the Rays do wins (and somehow, that doesn’t even qualify the Royals as the worst team in baseball). However, they didn’t just keep it close with Tampa — they beat them. That’s baseball, Suzyn.

Tampa did jump out to an early lead, scoring two in the first on a Randy Arozarena single and a sac fly. Normally that’d be enough in this scenario to turn on cruise control, especially with Cy Young contender Shane McClanahan on the mound, but McClanahan ran into trouble in the third. Dairon Blanco led off with a triple and scored on Maikel Garcia’s single a batter later, and then MJ Melendez singled him home to tie the game. McClanahan nearly worked around an error in the fourth, but he was looking visibly off, prompting Kevin Cash to pull his starter out of concern for his back.

So the Royals had scored off of the Rays’ ace and watched him exit early, but they couldn’t capitalize on the bullpen at first. Kevin Kelly and Shawn Armstrong both pitched shutout innings to keep things knotted at two, but Robert Stephenson was greeted by a Drew Waters homer to start the seventh. Kansas City had the brief lead, but coughed it up immediately in the bottom of the seventh on a Francisco Mejia home run. Arozarena then singled home a pair later in the frame to put Tampa back up by two, but the Royals weren’t out of it yet.

In the eighth it was Waters again delivering, this time slapping a two-out, two-run single to tie the game up once more. Then in the ninth, Melendez singled home the go-ahead run setting up Scott Barlow for the save attempt. Luke Raley got on base via a single, but Barlow got Arozarena and Issac Paredes to strike out to end it.

Other Games:

Minnesota Twins (38-38) 6, Boston Red Sox (39-37) 0: Joe Ryan was traded away by the Rays, and thank goodness for that — the youngster has grown into the ace role for Minnesota this year, and he had the best game of his career against Boston. Ryan pitched a complete game shutout, striking out nine and walking none, with just three hits as the minor blemishes on his stellar night.

Cleveland Guardians (36-38) 6, Oakland Athletics (19-58) 1: Ah, now there’s the only team worse than the Royals this year. Oakland’s bid to join the 20-win club was denied last night, though they briefly got a 1-0 lead in the fifth on an Aledmys Diaz sac fly. Cleveland immediately countered with two runs to take the lead themselves, and tacked on four runs in the eighth for good measure.