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Yandy Diaz’s 3-run double propels Rays past Royals

Jul 22, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA;  Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Brett Phillips (35) reaches to make a running catch during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Yandy Diaz’s three-run double helped starter Drew Rasmussen win for the first time in nearly two months as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the host Kansas City Royals 7-3 Friday night.

Diaz went 1-for-3 with a fourth-inning double that broke open a 2-1 game. He walked twice and drove in three runs.

Rasmussen (6-3) scuffled through five innings but only surrendered one run. In earning his first victory since beating the Miami Marlins on May 25, he scattered seven hits, walked one and struck out four.

Francisco Mejia was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs, while Brandon Lowe was 2-for-5 with an RBI. Brett Phillips had a hit, walked twice and scored two runs.

Tampa Bay is 17-5 in its past 22 games against the American League Central club.

Royals All-Star Andrew Benintendi (two RBIs), Nicky Lopez (run, stolen base), Nick Pratto (two doubles) and MJ Melendez (run) each posted two hits.

Brad Keller (5-10) battled command issues throughout — plus a nose bleed — before leaving after four innings. He allowed five runs (four earned), with three of the five tallies reaching base via walk.

Keller gave up four hits, walked five, hit a batter and uncorked two wild pitches.

His wildness allowed the leadoff batter to reach base in the first three innings, but the visitors couldn’t cash in until the third when the right-hander walked Phillips — Keller’s third free pass.

Lowe’s single to center was booted by center fielder Michael A. Taylor, allowing Phillips to advance to third. Randy Arozarena then reached out and produced an RBI groundout for a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom half, Benintendi’s base hit to right drove in Lopez, who had singled and swiped second, but the Rays regained the advantage, 2-1, on Mejia’s hard chopper off Keller’s glove in the fourth.

A lengthy delay then occurred when Keller developed a bloody nose. Diaz made the pitcher’s night worse with a double that cleared the bases after Keller’s fifth walk loaded filled them.

Rasmussen didn’t breeze through the Royals lineup by any means.

The Royals put runners on base in all five of his innings, but Rasmussen became the pitcher of record with a double-play ball on his 94th pitch.

In the seventh, the home side cut it to 5-3 on Benintendi’s groundout and Hunter Dozier’s sacrifice fly, but the Rays immediately answered with RBIs from Mejia and Lowe.

–Field Level Media