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Kris Bubic pitches Royals past Rays 4-2

Jul 24, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman Nicky Lopez (8) hits a single against the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kris Bubic went seven strong innings and Hunter Dozier drove in the tiebreaking run as the Kansas City Royals beat the visiting Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 on Sunday to win two games in a three-game series.

Bubic (2-6) surrendered two runs on four hits, struck out four and walked three in winning for the first time since June 20 on the road against the Los Angeles Angels.

In his previous start last Sunday at Toronto, Bubic had a no-decision after pitching seven innings of five-hit ball against the Blue Jays when he allowed two runs, both unearned.

In the seventh inning, Dozier singled in Whit Merrifield off Brooks Raley (1-1) to break a 2-2 tie. MJ Melendez added an RBI single in the eighth as the Royals had 14 hits to claim their second straight victory.

Taylor Clarke earned his second save with a perfect ninth.

Bobby Witt Jr. had a first-inning RBI single and stolen base but left the game with a tight right hamstring.

Yandy Diaz was 2-for-4 with a double, home run and scored both Tampa Bay runs. Randy Arozarena had a double as one of his two hits.

The Rays produced just five hits in their second consecutive loss and third in their past 10 outings.

In his first start since July 5, Jeffrey Springs was hit hard by the Royals but limited the damage to only two runs (one earned) on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings.

Following Merrifield’s first-inning double, Witt sliced a one-out RBI single for a 1-0 lead then swiped his 20th base.

But Witt was seen grimacing after tagging up and jogging to third on Dozier’s deep flyout. Between innings, Witt was replaced at shortstop by Nicky Lopez, who finished 2-for-3 with a triple.

The Royals went up 2-0 in the second on Nick Pratto’s sacrifice fly that scored Michael A. Taylor, who was 2-for-4, with two runs scored.

Diaz struck his fourth homer in the third. The solo shot to straightaway center field traveled 434 feet according to Statcast.

The Rays tied it 2-2 when Luke Raley’s sacrifice fly to deep left scored Diaz, who opened with a double to right.

–Field Level Media