Kansas City, Mo. The Kansas City Royals were trying to dig out of an early five-run hole against Tampa Bay on Wednesday night and had the bases loaded with one out and Lorenzo Cain at the plate.
He grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Funny thing happened, though: It didn’t seem to deter the Royals one bit.
In the ultimate show of resiliency, Kansas City kept plugging along, scratching away at the Rays’ big lead. And by the time the Royals put up five runs in the sixth inning, they were well on their way to a 9-8 victory on a cold, blustery Wednesday night.
“We had opportunities early to get a big hit and just couldn’t,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “But they just continued to battle, get good at-bats and get in good position until we could break through like we did in the sixth inning.”
Elliot Johnson homered against his former team early in the game, but Lorenzo Cain and Jeff Francoeur provided the key hits during that sixth-inning rally. Both of them finished with a pair of RBIs, helping Kansas City earn its second straight come-from-behind victory.
“Our goal is to get the first one or two guys on every inning and then let whatever is going to happen, happen,” Francoeur said. “Tonight we were able to do that.”
Matt Joyce, Ben Zobrist and Luke Scott each homered for the Rays, who dropped to 4-11 on the road this season. Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson allowed four runs in five innings.
“That’s a pretty revealing statistic that in 10 of our 15 losses we’ve had the lead and given them up,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We just can’t do that.”
Bruce Chen (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Royals starter Luis Mendoza, and Greg Holland worked a perfect ninth inning in a light drizzle for his seventh save.
Kansas City will go for the series sweep today, assuming the game is even played. The forecast calls for temperatures in the upper 30s with a good chance of rain or snow.
It was 66 degrees and partly sunny at first pitch Wednesday, but the weather deteriorated quickly. The temperature dropped into the upper 40s by the later innings, and winds gusting more than 30 mph to right field turned every ball hit out of the infield into an adventure.