KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Salvador Perez hit a game-ending RBI single, and the Kansas City Royals avoided a sweep by topping the Tampa Bay Rays 9-8 on Wednesday night.
Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier and Carlos Santana homered for Kansas City, which trailed 6-3 heading to the bottom of the seventh inning. Scott Barlow (1-0) allowed Joey Wendle’s tiebreaking RBI double in the ninth, but got the win when the Royals rallied.
Michael A. Taylor sparked the game-ending rally with a leadoff single for Kansas City. Jarrod Dyson then came in to run, swiped second and advanced to third on Hanser Alberto’s sacrifice bunt against Diego Castillio (0-1).
Dyson then slid home safely on Nicky Lopez’s safety squeeze, tying it at 8. After Lopez advanced on a groundout, Santana was intentionally walked before Perez lined a 2-1 pitch up the third-base line for the winning hit.
The Royals have won 54 straight when leading after seven innings, the longest active streak in baseball.
Wendle had two hits and three RBIs for Tampa Bay, which had won five in a row. Brandon Lowe hit a two-run homer during the Rays’ four-run first inning against Jacob Junis.
Tampa Bay right-hander Michael Wacha permitted three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Austin Meadows’ RBI double gave the Rays a 6-3 lead in the seventh. But the Royals responded with four runs in the bottom half.
Alberto hit a two-run triple, and Santana connected for a two-run drive with two out.
Royals: RHP Jesse Hahn (right shoulder impingement syndrome) is eligible to return from the 10-day injured list Thursday.
Rays: Open a 10-game homestand on Friday with a matchup with Toronto, with Tyler Glasnow (2-0, 0.73 ERA) on the mound for Tampa Bay.
Royals: Begin a nine-game road trip Friday in Detroit. Mike Minor (1-1, 5.17 ERA) pitches for Kansas City.
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