Rays ride 6-run 3rd to pass KC in WC chase

Rays ride 6-run 3rd to pass KC in WC chase

KANSAS CITY -- Lucas Duda belted a three-run home run and Wilson Ramos added a two-run shot during a six-run third inning and the Rays rolled to a 12-0 victory over the reeling Royals on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Logan Morrison added a three-run shot in the ninth, his 32nd.

The Royals, who lost their fifth straight, now have been shut out in 43 straight innings, the longest such streak in Major League Baseball since the mound was lowered after 1968. The previous mark was 42 by both the 1983 Phillies and the 1985 Astros. The '79 Phillies were blanked in 39 innings. The all-time mark is 48 by the 1968 Cubs and the 1906 A's. The Royals also became the first team since the 1992 Cubs to be shut out in four straight games.

Afterward, Royals manager Ned Yost was searching for answers, saying, "What I gauge is the energy on the club. So you're looking at the energy the club has, the fight, the intensity, and is everybody playing hard and giving their best effort. And when I sit and look at this group there isn't a guy who isn't fighting his tail off. We're just not having success right now."

The Rays, meanwhile, moved ahead of the Royals by a half-game in the American League Wild Card race and are now 2 1/2 games behind the Twins for the second spot.

Pruitt's dominant outing

Rays rookie Austin Pruitt was the latest beneficiary of the Royals' struggling offense -- he threw six strong innings, giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out six. Matt Andriese, just activated from the disabled list, worked the final three innings to earn the save.

Andriese picks up the save

"Swung the bats great," Morrison said. "Played great defense. Pruitt and Andriese did a great job. Gave the guys on the back end of the bullpen some rest, well-deserved rest. Another W on the way to where we need to go."

Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy was roughed up for the third straight start, lasting just 2 2/3 innings while giving up six hits and seven runs. In his last three starts, Kennedy, whose ERA jumped to 5.47, has given up 19 hits and 15 runs over 10 innings.

"First two innings felt really good and the last inning, I don't know what happened there," Kennedy said. "I missed location, bad changeup to Duda. It's frustrating. Not the way I want to pitch. Probably the worst I've pitched in a while."

Lorenzo Cain had the two Royals hits on the night -- both doubles.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Big-time blast: Duda came up with two on and none out in the third against Kennedy and pounced on a 2-0 changeup, sending it a projected 393 feet to right-center field, according to Statcast™. The blast was Duda's 25th of the season and it gave the Rays a 4-0 lead. The Royals, who trailed, 7-0, moments later, now have been outscored, 35-0, since they last scored.

Duda's three-run jack

"The games haven't really been too competitive," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "I think we've been putting ourselves in a hole early. I know the big problem, or the big talk right now, is the scoreless streak. But we got to start off on being competitive, finding ways to string along some hits and stay in some of these games."

Fast start: The Rays wasted no time jumping on Kennedy in the first inning. Kevin Kiermaier looped a soft liner into right-center field that center fielder Cain could not corral. Kiermaier wound up with a double, went to third on a flyout by Duda, and scored on Evan Longoria's sacrifice fly to center.

Longoria's sacrifice fly

QUOTABLE
"Kind of nice to give ourselves some breathing room for a change. A lot of tight ballgames." -- Rays manager Kevin Cash, on the lopsided win

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Of Morrison's 32 home runs this season, 23 have come on the road, which is the most in the AL this season and matches Carlos Pena in 2007 for the most road home runs in franchise history.

Morrison's three-run homer

UNDER REVIEW
A crew-chief review took place with none out in the third when Morrison's hit off the top of the center-field wall was ruled a double. After 53 seconds, the call was confirmed. The Rays challenged in the third when Brandon Moss was called safe stealing second base with two out, but the call on the field was overturned to end the inning.

Morrison's RBI double

WHAT'S NEXT
Rays: Right-hander Alex Cobb (9-8, 3.69) gets the nod on Tuesday for the middle game of the series at 8:15 p.m. ET. He is 1-2 with a 4.55 ERA in five career starts against the Royals. In his last 12 starts, Cobb is 5-3 with a 2.90 ERA.

Royals: Right-hander Jake Junis (5-2, 4.68) takes the mound at 7:15 p.m. CT on Tuesday against the Rays at Kauffman Stadium. Junis gave up one run over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision in the Royals' 3-2 loss to the Rockies on Thursday.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.