Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon provide punch as Royals beat Rays 5-1 for doubleheader sweep



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KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Two bases-loaded hits. Two wins for Kansas City in a span of just a few hours.

Paulo Orlando belted a game-ending grand slam to give the Royals a 9-5 victory over Tampa Bay in the opener of a day-night doubleheader, and Alcides Escobar had a bases-clearing double to help them to a 7-1 win over the Rays in the nightcap on Tuesday.

Along the way, Alex Gordon was on base eight times with seven hits and six RBIs, raising his batting average 18 points to .280. Greg Holland (3-0) and Brandon Finnegan (2-0) each earned a win in relief, and the Royals added to their lead over Minnesota in the AL Central.

"I don't know if you're tired," Royals manager Ned Yost said with a grin, "but I am."

Escobar fell behind 0-2 against Brandon Gomes (1-4) in the sixth inning of Game 2 before battling back to a full count. On the 11th pitch of the at-bat, Escobar yanked a fair ball just down the third-base line, emptying the bases and breaking a 1-all deadlock.

Finnegan, Luke Hochevar and Ryan Madson combined for four hitless innings in relief of Edinson Volquez, who allowed only John Jaso's homer in five innings.

"A long day, a tough day. We just didn't get it done," said Rays manager Kevin Cash, whose club has lost nine of 10. "We've got to be better than that."

The doubleheader was caused by a massive storm that caused numerous tornado warnings in the Kansas City area Monday night. While it was cloudy and dry for Game 1 on Tuesday, steady rain fell throughout the nightcap, forcing many fans to watch from the concourse.

In the opener, the Rays had rallied to tie it at 5 before Orlando came to the plate in the ninth. All-Star closer Brad Boxberger (4-5) threw him a changeup and the Brazilian pounded it into the bullpen in left for his first career slam.

"Just one of those days when I couldn't make a pitch when I needed to," Boxberger said.

The Rays had just tied the game off Holland, the Royals' closer, who allowed a leadoff triple to Kevin Kiermaier in the ninth but looked as if he may get bailed out.

Kiermaier slid over the bag and was tagged, but umpire Chris Segal ruled he got back in time. The call stood after a review of 4 minutes, 12 seconds. Holland then walked Curt Casali and struck out Grady Sizemore before a wild pitch allowed Kiermaier to score the tying run.

Gordon homered and Kendrys Morales also drove in a pair of runs for the Royals, who won despite playing an unorthodox lineup due to injuries and other circumstances.

All-Star outfielder Lorenzo Cain got the doubleheader off due to an ailing hamstring. Third baseman Mike Moustakas missed both games on the bereavement list. And All-Star catcher Salvador Perez got the opener off because he was due to start the nightcap.

James Loney and Evan Longoria homered in the opener for Tampa Bay.

"It wasn't our cleanest day," Cash said after Game 1, but summing up the doubleheader nicely. "We know we have to play clean baseball. We did not today."

NEWS AND NOTES

Jaso had been on the DL since bruising his left wrist on opening day. ... Royals 3B Cheslor Cuthbert started both games. He got his first career hit in the opener. ... The Royals have had five game-ending grand slams, the last by Justin Maxwell two years ago. ... Kansas City has its most wins at the halfway point since also starting 48-33 in 1980.

ROSTER MOVES

The Rays designated LHP Everett Teaford for assignment after he pitched in both games. RHP Andrew Bellatti (shoulder tendinitis) was activated from the disabled list.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (strained left oblique) made his second rehab start Monday at Triple-A Charlotte: He allowed two hits and a walk in 5 2-3 scoreless innings.

Royals: LHP Jason Vargas (left flexor strain) was supposed to throw 60 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday. That will happen Wednesday because of the doubleheader.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Chris Archer (9-5) starts Wednesday against Kansas City for the first time since becoming an All-Star on Monday.

Royals: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (6-5) tries to beat Tampa Bay for the third straight time.

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