KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chris Archer came up big on the mound. James Loney delivered the winning hit. And manager Joe Maddon made one of his unconventional bullpen moves.
But it was a small contribution from Wil Myers — a slow roller toward third base for an infield single to start the ninth — that was the key to the Rays' 1-0 victory over the Royals on Tuesday, and it could loom large going forward.
"I've been looking for my first hit here and I finally got it," Myers said. "I've been struggling obviously at the plate, so maybe that's something that will get me going."
Myers was hitless in his first 11 at-bats against the team that traded him, striking out his first three times up Tuesday. That added to what Myers called his worst start to a season in pro ball, hitting .167 going into his final at-bat.
"It's something that can permit him to exhale, which he needs to do," Maddon said. "He's just trying so hard right now."
Myers moved to second on a two-out wild pitch by Greg Holland then scored on a single by Loney.
The game featured a tremendous duel between two of the game's top young starters, Kansas City's flame-throwing Yordano Ventura, who was clocked in triple digits twice in his six innings, and Archer, who was equally impressive in posting seven zeroes.
The win was the Rays' first at Kauffman Stadium in eight tries.
After ex-Ray Wade Davis snuffed a rally in the eighth, the Royals loaded the bases with one out on two singles off Jake McGee and a walk by lefty Alex Gordon off righty Joel Peralta, whom Maddon brought in going against traditional matchups (though knowing Gordon was 3-for-5 vs. McGee.) Peralta came back to get Danny Valencia looking.