St. Petersburg, Fla. Not even a loss could diminish the Tampa Bay Rays’ outstanding opening month.
An error by reliever Randy Choate helped Kansas City score twice in the ninth inning, and the Royals held on to beat the first-place Rays, 3-2, on Friday night.
The Rays lost for just the third time in the last 17 games and ended April with a 17-6 record.
“It was a fabulous month,” manager Joe Maddon said. “All we talked about was to get off to a good start. I could not be happier with the group.”
After reaching the World Series in 2008, Tampa Bay went just 9-14 in April last season en route to missing the playoffs.
Evan Longoria homered and had two RBIs for the Rays. He nearly won it in the bottom of the ninth, but his long drive to left with two on was caught at the wall for a sacrifice fly that made it 3-2.
With runners at first and second, Joakim Soria retired B.J. Upton on a fly ball to end it.
Alberto Callaspo had a tiebreaking sacrifice fly, and Mitch Maier added a run-scoring single in the ninth for the Royals, who won for only the second time in 12 games against Tampa Bay since the start of last season.
“It’s a win here in the house of horrors,” manager Trey Hillman said.