KANSAS CITY— That one feels better.
The Royals snapped a three game losing skid on Thursday night with a 4-2 victory over the American League East leading Tampa Bay Rays, and it was likely one of their most relieving victories on the season.
Yeah yeah, it may be July 24, and the Royals may have just improved to 46-57, but this game was an important one to win for the the boys in blue if they look to improve in the second half, especially because of their hard to watch series against Detroit to start off the week, a series in which they got outscored 33-6 in three games.
Royals right-hander Gil Meche improved to 8-9 on the season and lowered his ERA to 4.31 after going seven scoreless innings while giving up five hits, walking one and striking out four.
Lefty Ron Mahay and All-Star closer Joakim Soria closed it out for the Royals, though each surprisingly gave up a run in their inning pitched. Mahay's ERA now sits at 1.88, Soria's at 1.60.
Rays right-hander Matt Garza took the loss, falling to 8-6 after allowing four runs, eight hits, four walks and striking out four in his five innings of work.
The Rays, 59-42, fell into a first-place tie with the Boston Red Sox following their own loss and the BoSox day off.
The Royals were once again led offensively by should—have—been—All—Star David DeJesus, who went two-for-three with a double and a run scored. First baseman Ross Gload and third baseman Alex Gordon also contributed two hits for the Royals, while catcher John Buck drove in two runs with a double down the right field line in the fourth inning.
The Rays' first run came following a lead-off double by shortstop Jason Bartlett in the eighth, while their second also followed a lead-off double, this one in the ninth by All-Star rookie third baseman Evan Longoria.
Bartlett had three hits for Tampa Bay, in addition to turning a web gem quality double play in the second inning.
The Royals will look to ensure at least a series split with these Rays on Friday night at Kauffman stadium, when struggling righty Brian Bannister, 7-8, 5.49 ERA, will oppose the Rays' righty Edwin Jackson, who is 5-7 with a 4.25 ERA. Bannister will try to earn his first victory and provide his first quality start since June 23rd.