Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays rout Kansas City Royals 8-2

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays brass stood pat at Friday's nonwaiver trade deadline, saying it's confident some of the struggling hitters would turn it around and the starting pitching would become more consistent down the stretch.

A few hours later, the Rays players — for one night, at least — showed they were up to the task in an 8-2 victory over the Royals.

There were a couple of slumping sluggers, Carlos Peña and Pat Burrell, coming through with the kind of performances the Rays need from them in the final few months if they want to climb in the American League East.

There was catcher Dioner Navarro hitting a home run for the first time in almost a month.

And there was left-hander David Price bouncing back with, arguably, the best outing of his rookie season.

Peña said they like that the team stayed intact (other than reliever Joe Nelson getting optioned to Triple A after the game). And the players plan to reward the faith.

"I'm telling you it's in there. These guys are talented. All that stuff is within them," manager Joe Maddon said. "We just have to keep showing confidence. It's all about confidence, and if we can get a couple good games in a row for some of these guys, there's no telling what they're going to do because they've done it before."

Granted, the Royals (40-62) boast the American League's worst record (and worst offense) and Sidney Ponson hadn't won in nearly three months. But the victory could become a confidence-boost, especially for Price, whose performance netted him just his third win in his past nine starts.

Price (4-4) said a key was fastball command and not just throwing strikes, "but quality strikes," resulting in seven innings and just one run.

"I definitely felt good," Price said. "It was just one of those nights where everything goes your way."

Peña and Burrell helped supply the offense with Peña hitting a three-run homer and Burrell picking up a couple of hits (including a rare triple). And rapper Flo Rida provided the postgame entertainment for the Tropicana Field crowd of 26,596 following another victory on a Summer Concert Series night.

More important, the win allowed the Rays (56-47) to stay within 41/2 games of the Red Sox for the wild card and move within 6 of the first-place Yankees.

Peña said he, Burrell and Navarro have talked a lot recently about putting their previous struggles behind them.

"All that matters," Peña said, "is what are you going to do for your team tonight."

Peña's homer in the first inning, just his third in his past 26 starts, hit off the leftfield foul pole for the first time in his career ("not even Little League.")

Burrell hit just the 15th triple of his 10-year career — with Maddon saying they kept the ball.

"Sometimes, it's just about being patient. And all of a sudden, the positive explosion occurs," Maddon said. "And I really believe our guys are going to do that."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith

Rays 8

Royals 2

Tampa Bay Rays rout Kansas City Royals 8-2 07/31/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 1, 2009 7:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Quick snaps: Florida's streak, FSU's true freshman QB and UCF's prolific offense



     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain shakes hands with Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops at the end of the game between the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Kentucky 45-7.
  2. Cannon Fodder podcast: Key matchups in Bucs-Vikings game


    In our latest Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman breaks down five key matchups that will help decide Sunday's Bucs game against the Minnesota Vikings.

    Defensive lineman Chris Baker is a question mark heading into Sunday's game against the Vikings.
  3. Rick and Tom podcast: Will Bucs go 2-0? Are Gators on upset alert?


    It's football friday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the Bucs' game in Minnesota, including the improved offensive line.

    Ali Marpet moved from guard to center on an improved Bucs offensive line.
  4. Week 4 Heisman watch, local of the week and more


    Heisman watch

    San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny (20) reacts with teammates during the final minute of the second half of an NCAA college football game against Stanford Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in San Diego. San Diego State won 20-17. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) CAGB113
  5. Rays morning after: Matt Andriese trying to put good finish on injury-marred season


    RHP Matt Andriese can't make up for the 2-1/2 months he missed due to a hip injury this season after getting off to a solid 5-1, 3.54 start.

    Matt Andriese will have the chance to put a solid finish on his season Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.