James Shields made his long awaited return to Tropicana Field on Monday night. It was his first appearance back in St. Pete since the big trade that sent him to Kansas City in 2012. And it was one that the Rays would like to forget. Shields and the Royals shut out the Rays 6-0 to take the series opener. Rays (41–51) had just four hits on the night while the Royals (46-42) banged out 14 hits.
The Royals got to Rays starter Jake Odorizzi in the 3rd inning. Kansas City put together three straight singles— Alex Gordon’s RBI single to right made it 1-0. Omar Infante drove in another run with a groundout to make it 2-0 Royals. Odorizzi had a good start— 6 innings with just two runs allowed and 8 strikeouts but he falls to 4-8 on the season.
The Rays didn’t have much of a chance against Shields on this night. In the first inning, Ben Zobrist singled with one out. But the hit-and-run attempt backfired when Matt Joyce struck out and Zobrist was thrown out stealing 2nd on a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play. They threatened in the 3rd inning when they had runners at 1st and 3rd with two out—but Shields struck out Joyce again to end the inning. Shields then retired 10 straight batters and was dominant.
Royals added two more insurance runs in the 8th and two more in the 9th. Omar Infante’s RBI double made it 3-0 and Mike Moustakas drove in another with a sac fly to make it 4-0. Eric Hosmer’s RBI double and Gordon’s RBI single in the 9th made it 6-0. Gordon went 3 for 5 with two RBI.
Shields threw 7 scoreless innings and allowed just 3 hits on the night. He walked just one and struck out 10 as he improves to 9-4 on the season. Joyce and Logan Forsythe combined to go 0 for 6 with 6 strikeouts against Shields. Royals pitching recorded 13 strikeouts on the night.
The Rays continue their 3 game series with the Royals on Tuesday night from Tropicana Field. Jeremy Hellickson makes his season debut for the Rays as he goes against 8-3 Jason Vargas. Our coverage on 620am WDAE and 95.3FM begins at 6pm with Tom Krasniqi and the Suncoast Hyundai Dealers Inside Pitch.