Kansas City, Mo. Royals manager Tony Pena was just being cautious when he took his rookie right-hander out after five shutout innings.
Runelvys Hernandez and three Royals relievers combined on a two-hitter, and Joe Randa hit a three-run homer as Kansas City defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 10-0 Sunday.
The 24-year-old Hernandez allowed only a leadoff single to Brent Abernathy, while walking one and striking out three. He left the game after throwing just 59 pitches.
"He was just tired," Pena said. "It was hot. We had a nine-run lead, so there was no reason to send him out again. There is nothing wrong with him."
Hernandez said his elbow was "a little sore and a little tired." Trainer Nick Swartz said Dr. Tom Phillips checked Hernandez's arm after he left and found no swelling.
Hernandez (3-1) has won his past two starts, allowing five hits and three runs in 11 innings.
Relievers Ryan Bukvich, Jason Grimsley and Roberto Hernandez completed the Royals' first shutout since July 13, 4-0 against Anaheim.
Randa homered in the first after Carlos Beltran walked and Raul Ibanez reached on an error. Randa has 63 RBIs this season and is two shy of 500 for his career.
"Yesterday was a setback (13-6 loss) and today we got back on our feet," Randa said. "I think we felt that going into today that the team that was going to score early was going to come out on top."
Aaron Guiel hit a solo homer in the first to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Guiel, also, singled home a run in the fifth.
"He (Devil Rays starter Jose Sosa) fell behind 2-0," Guiel said of his home run. "It takes a lot of guesswork out of hitting on that count. You know a fastball is coming, especially from a pitcher like him, who has control problems.
"Guys were patient at the plate against him, which was very much the key. When the count is 1-0, 2-0, it becomes so much easier to hit because his options are limited."
Carlos Febles led off the second with his fourth home run and his first since July 4 at Oakland. Febles, who had three hits, was optioned to Triple-A Omaha after the game.
Kansas City's first three home runs were off Devil Rays rookie right-hander Jorge Sosa, a Rule 5 draft pick who spent his first six seasons of professional baseball as an outfielder before making the switch to the mound in 2001.
Sosa (1-6) allowed five runs four earned on four hits before being replaced by left-hander Steve Kent to start the fourth. Sosa has lost his past four starts, not pitching more than 5 2-3 innings in each.
"Sosa needs to throw more strikes," Devil Rays manager Hal McRae said. "He's struggling now. When he lets one go, he can't throw a strike. When he lets up, they hit it out. That's not a good combination."
Michael Tucker homered in the eighth off Jesus Colome, the fourth Devil Rays pitcher, for the final run.
In the Royals' three-run fourth, Neifi Perez led off the inning with a single and moved to second on balk by Kent. He scored on first baseman Aubrey Huff's throwing error, his second fielding miscue of the afternoon.
Febles scored on Beltran's double. Chuck Knoblauch scored on an Ibanez ground out for the third run.
Notes: The Royals stole three bases Sunday, bringing their American League-leading total to 112. ... Huff went 0-for-4, snapping his eight-game hitting streak. ... SS Chris Gomez started for the Devil Rays after sitting out the previous seven games. ... RF Ben Grieve leads the Devil Rays with 95 strikeouts, including 46 called third strikes. ... The Royals improved to 8-9 with Guiel batting second.