Kansas City Royals’ win streak still going after 11th-inning rally past the Rays

The Kansas City Royals avoided the stinging Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday … they just needed extra innings to do it.

The Royals, who haven’t lost since May 15, picked up a 7-4 victory at Tropicana Field. It was their eighth consecutive win — their longest streak of the season — and a series-clinching victory.

“Finding ways to win,” Royals starter Brady Singer said. “That’s what we’re doing. Tonight is a great example of it.”

In the 11th inning, Royals designated hitter Nelson Velázquez faced Rays reliever (and former Royal) Richard Lovelady with catcher Freddy Fermin at second base. Velázquez saw three pitches before launching a double off the center-field wall.

Fermin raced home to score the go-ahead run. Later, Royals second baseman Adam Frazier hit an infield single that was deflected into the shallow outfield. Velázquez scored as the Royals took a two-run lead.

“I’ve been working when I get to the field,” Velázquez said. “I think I’m getting there. I feel way better than a couple of weeks ago. I think I’m getting to my spot I was last year. It’s trusting the process and working every day.”

Third baseman Maikel Garcia added an RBI single. Lovelady was charged with three runs in 1 1/3 innings.

The cushion was enough for the Royals bullpen. Royals reliever Nick Anderson shut the door in the 11th inning and picked up his first save of the season.

KC improved to 34-19 and will look for a third consecutive sweep on Sunday.

“We got a few things go our way and kept putting the ball in play,” Frazier said. “We kept fighting hard and came out on top.”

Royals and Rays went back and forth

Earlier in the game, the Rays battled the Royals at every turn.

After KC jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning, the Rays responded. Jonathan Aranda hit a solo homer two frames later.

The teams went back and forth as they continued to trade leads. The Royals held a 3-2 advantage in the seventh inning. Rays outfielder Harold Ramirez hit an RBI single to tie the score again.

“That was a battle,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “Both teams were deep into the bullpen and both starters went five (innings). It took a lot of guts from both sides to stay in a really competitive game there.”

The Royals also dealt with a significant injury in the inning. Outfielder Kyle Isbel was struck in the face by a foul tip. He exited the game with facial lacerations.

“Yeah, I think we are extremely lucky,” Quatraro said. “... It got him on the bridge of the nose. Just a cut and he is getting further testing to make sure everything is OK.”

Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision. The Royals’ Brady Singer allowed two runs in his outing. Rays veteran Aaron Civale mirrored him with a similar performance.

Missed the start of the series?

Game 1: Royals extend winning streak with 8-1 victory over Rays

Rules of Engagement: Royals see positive gains in fan interest amid hot streak

Here are more notables from Saturday’s game:

Brady Singer earns no decision

The Rays made Singer work on Saturday afternoon. The Royals right-hander battled throughout his outing and avoided early trouble.

In the second inning, Singer stranded two runners in scoring position. After allowing a leadoff double to Aranda, Singer hit Rays shortstop Jose Caballero a few batters later.

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Brady Singer (51) throws a pitch in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 25, 2024.
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Brady Singer (51) throws a pitch in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 25, 2024.

Caballero stole second. Singer, though struck out Rays catcher Ben Rortvedt and forced infielder Amed Rosario to ground out.

Singer allowed just the two runs (one earned). He earned a no decision after surrendering four hits, two walks and striking out three batters.

“I was able to get some quick outs early in the outing,” Singer said. “I threw a lot of pitches there toward the end that took away from getting deep in the game. I just had to grind through some innings there.”

He recorded 22 swings and six whiffs with his slider, per Baseball Savant.

Nelson Velázquez circles the bases

Velázquez is starting to regain his swing.

In the second inning, Velázquez hit a solo home run off Civale. The blast traveled 403 feet and had a 101.3 mph exit velocity.

The homer gave the Royals an early 1-0 lead. It was Velázquez’s second home run this week after he hit one against the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.

“The first four hitters, he showed them a lot of cutters and sinkers,” Velázquez said. “I told myself to go there and try to hit a sinker. Everything was away. So, I was looking for nothing away and he showed me that first pitch, and I was able to hit it.”

Velázquez has hit three home runs since May 14. The swift turnaround follows a 101 at-bat homerless drought earlier this season.

What’s next on the KC Royals’ schedule?

The Royals conclude their three-game series against the Rays. On Sunday, Royals right-hander Michael Wacha will start against Rays hurler Taj Bradley.

Wacha has regained his form in recent starts. He owns a 2.37 ERA in his last three outings and will look to win his fourth consecutive game against his former team.

Bradley is 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA this season. First pitch is set for 12:40 p.m. Central.