St. Louis doesn’t have a monopoly on dramatic ninth innings these days.
Salvador Perez snuck a three-run home run over the left-field wall at Tropicana Field, and Greg Holland made it stand up in a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
An Eric Hosmer homer in the first gave the Royals an early tally, and an RBI groundout by Raul Ibanez made it 2-0 in the top of the fourts. In the bottom of that inning, the Rays struck for all four of their runs on a Kevin Kiermaier grand slam off Yordano Ventura. Ventura walked two of those runs on base, and ended his night after five innings of work. He allowed five hits and four walks while striking out five Rays.
The Royals were only 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, but one of those was the game-winning hit in the ninth. Jarrod Dyson singled to lead off the frame, Lorenzo Cain struck out, and Hosmer walked to set the table for Perez’ big blast on an 0-1 fastball, which gave Kansas City a 5-4 edge. Holland shut the door by retiring three straight Rays, earning his 24th save.
Kansas City now treks to Detroit for four games against the AL Central-leading Tigers. Jeremy Guthrie is set to start against the Tigers’ Drew Smyly, with Thursday’s first pitch set for 7:10 pm.