. UP NEXT
What's new: The trade to acquire RHPs James Shields and Wade Davis from the Rays, and another to get Ervin Santana from Angels, were the key moves in fortifying the Royals rotation. That was the final step, they hope, in becoming contenders as they already had a core of quality young position players including C Salvador Perez, 1B Eric Hosmer and 3B Mike Moustakas, plus the more veteran OF Alex Gordon and DH Billy Butler. Also, a power bullpen. The early returns have been good, as the Royals are just a half-game out of first place.
Key stat: The Royals bullpen has worked the second-fewest innings in the majors (601/3, 31/3 more than the Rays).
Connections: Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland, INF Elliot Johnson, Shields and Davis are ex-Rays. … Tampa Bay RHPs Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta and Jamey Wright are ex-Royals.
Series history: The Rays lead 67-52 overall, the Royals lead 29-26 in K.C., including a three-game sweep last year.
Marc Topkin, Times staff writer