Final
  for this game

Royals-Rays Preview

Apr 30, 2010 - 4:36 AM By MATT BEARDMORE STATS Writer

Kansas City (8-13) at Tampa Bay (16-5), 7:10 p.m. EDT

Sparked by the majors' most potent offense, the Tampa Bay Rays are off to baseball's best 22-game start in seven years. Continuing their four-game series with the struggling Kansas City Royals could help the AL East-leading Rays add another victory to their lofty total.

Tampa Bay looks to extend its team record for April victories on Friday when it closes out the month at Tropicana Field.

Jason Bartlett and Reid Brignac each knocked in three runs, and every starter hit safely as the Rays pounded out a season-high 15 in Thursday's 11-1 victory. Tampa Bay's 17-5 record is the best in franchise history and the best 22-game start in the majors since the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees opened 18-4 in 2003. The Royals were 17-5 that season.

"It's been fun to watch, obviously," said manager Joe Maddon, whose team leads the majors with 142 runs. "The focus and concentration has been fantastic. We're playing the game hard and we're playing it right."

The Rays' first two hitters - Bartlett and Carl Crawford - have been the catalysts for this surge.

Bartlett is batting .444 during the winning streak while Crawford is hitting .415 with a .468 on-base percentage in the last 10. He went 4 for 5 on Thursday, a homer shy of the cycle.

"It's one of those times where everybody seems to be swinging the bat well," said Crawford, who is batting .469 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in his last 12 home games versus Kansas City.

The Rays, who are batting .347 and outscoring opponents 44-13 during their five-game winning streak, have won 12 of 14 overall against the Royals (8-14) and 23 of 29 at home.

Having Jeff Niemann (1-0, 3.27 ERA) on the mound could help Tampa Bay improve that mark. The 6-foot-9 right-hander is 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA in two career starts against the Royals.

In a 7-1 victory over Kansas City on Aug. 1, Niemann allowed four hits in eight innings of one-run ball.

The Royals, who have dropped nine of 13, counter with Brian Bannister (1-1, 4.13), who picked up his first win in his last start. The right-hander allowed two runs and nine hits over 6 1/3 innings in Sunday's 4-3 victory over Minnesota

"It was a positive outing just because they had beaten us a couple of times and we needed to get on the board against them," said Bannister, who is 2-2 with a 5.70 ERA in four starts at Tropicana Field.

The Royals began this series batting a major league-best .288, but they had just six hits and struck out a season-high 11 times Thursday. Kansas City is hitting .222 and averaging 2.7 runs during its three-game slide.

Royals second baseman Chris Getz could return to the lineup following a stint on the disabled list with a strained right oblique. To make room for Getz, Alex Gordon - 0 for 37 lifetime at Tropicana Field - could be sent to Triple-A Omaha, or Rick Ankiel could be placed on the disabled list with a quadriceps injury .

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria went 2 for 5 in the series opener and is batting .440 on the homestand. He is 6 for 11 lifetime versus Bannister.

Tampa Bay didn't win its 18th game last season until May 16.








  • Rays 2, Royals 3 - FINAL
    KANSAS CITY ab r h rbi bb so lob avg
    D DeJesus rf 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 .287
    S Podsednik lf 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 .350
    B Butler 1b 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 .326
    W Bloomquist pr-1b 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 .167
    J Guillen dh 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 .304
    A Callaspo 3b 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 .295
    J Kendall c

    Apr 30 9:48 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY EVAN LONGORIA SCORED CARL CRAWFORD
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B ZOBRIST ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 3
    TAMPA BAY 2 BOTTOM,9TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C PENA (.247, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Royals 3, Rays 2  Bot 9, 0 OutsApr 30 9:41 PM
  • 69
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 27 roots (Close Finish)

    Royals 3, Rays 2  Bot 9, 0 OutsApr 30 9:41 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MITCH MAIER SCORED WILLIE BLOOMQUIST
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M MAIER ON FIRST, J KENDALL ON SECOND, J
    GUILLEN ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 3
    TAMPA BAY 1 TOP,9TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: Y BETANCOURT (.302, 0-FOR-2, SAC)

    Royals 3, Rays 1  Top 9, 0 OutsApr 30 9:29 PM
  • 42
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 27 roots

    Royals 3, Rays 1  Top 9, 0 OutsApr 30 9:29 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY ALBERTO CALLASPO SCORED SCOTT PODSEDNIK
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J GUILLEN ON FIRST, B BUTLER ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 2
    TAMPA BAY 1 TOP,9TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: J KENDALL (.278, 0-FOR-3)

    Royals 2, Rays 1  Top 9, 0 OutsApr 30 9:24 PM
  • 69
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 37 roots (Close Finish)

    Royals 2, Rays 1  Top 9, 0 OutsApr 30 9:24 PM
  • 106
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 72 roots (Close Finish)

    Royals 1, Rays 1  Bot 7, 0 OutsApr 30 8:44 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JOSE GUILLEN SCORED DAVID DEJESUS
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J GUILLEN ON SECOND, B BUTLER ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 1
    TAMPA BAY 1 TOP,7TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: A CALLASPO (.295, 0-FOR-2)

    Royals 1, Rays 1  Top 7, 0 OutsApr 30 8:41 PM
  • 34
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 34 roots

    Royals 1, Rays 1  Top 7, 0 OutsApr 30 8:41 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY EVAN LONGORIA (5) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 0
    OUT IN THE 2ND OFF BRIAN BANNISTER.
    CURRENT SCORE: KANSAS CITY 0, TAMPA BAY 1
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C PENA (.253, 5 HR, 22 RBI)

    Royals 0, Rays 1  Bot 2, 0 OutsApr 30 7:29 PM