Jeff Keppinger, left, tied the Rays record and matched his career high when he got five hits Saturday. According to Stats Inc., he also was the second player - of the 808 times there were five-hit games in the past 30 years - to do so in his first game off the DL. The other? Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki in July 2008.
* * *
Stats of the day
3-9-8 Rays' record in doubleheaders, including 2-7-5 in split DHs
9-9 Rays' record in interleague play this season, including 6-3 in NL parks
* * *
Milestone of the day
David Price couldn't wait to share the news when Sun Sports' Todd Kalas told the pitcher he hit 100 mph on the network radar with a fifth-inning pitch in the opener. Standing at his locker, Price shouted to the rest of the clubhouse: "I hit 100! I hit 100 today in case anybody wants to know! I hit a hundo!"
* * *
On Cobb: Two days later than planned, Cobb will seek an encore to his dominating June 17 performance vs. Miami, when he allowed two hits in seven shutout innings, fanning 10. He beat the Royals in July with seven shutout innings.
On Hochevar: He is coming off his best outing of 2012, taking a no-hitter into the fifth Tuesday at Houston, finishing with 7 2/3 shutout innings. He is 1-2, 7.42 ERA in six starts vs. the Rays, though 1-0, 4.32 in three home games.
* * *
What's new: The Royals are on the rise because of a core of talented young position players - led by 1B Eric Hosmer, 3B Mike Moustakas, DH Billy Butler and C Salvador Perez, who just came off the DL - and the emergence of OF Alex Gordon. The pitching still needsimprovement. Journeyman Bruce Chen is their top winner, and the starters have a 5.08 ERA, though Jonathan Broxton has stepped in extremely well for injured closer Joakim Soria. The defense could use work, too. But the Royals, who haven't been to the playoffs since 1985, are hanging around in the winnable American League Central, though they were swept by the Cardinals over the weekend.
Key stat: Since snapping a 12-game losing streak, the Royals are a majors-best 11-3 in one-run games.
Connections: Former Rays pitcher and front-office assistant Dave Eiland is Kansas City's pitching coach. ... Suspended Rays RHP Joel Peralta and injured RHP Kyle Farnsworth were Royals.
Series history: Rays lead 65-48 overall; series is 26-26 in Kansas City.