ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Harold Ramirez had three hits and drove in two runs, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2 on Sunday.
Ramirez has a hit in all five games, going 9 for 21 (.429), since returning Tuesday from a broken right thumb and is hitting .337 during a resurgent season.
“I think he has a very simple approach, and he sticks with it,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Doesn’t try to do too much. Kind of takes what the pitcher gives. If you’re going to work away, he’ll beat you away. If you’re going to come inside, he can pull balls. Just a really good hitter that’s seeing the ball well.”
The Rays have won seven of nine, and held opponents to three runs or fewer in eight of their last nine games.
Kansas City right-hander Zack Greinke was lifted due to forearm cramping after allowing two runs and five hits over four innings. The 38-year old was checked by a trainer with Jose Siri batting with two outs in the fourth and retired him on fly ball after taking a warm-up throw, but was replaced by Jose Cuas to start the fifth.
“He had something cramp up in his forearm, so we went out in the middle of the inning just to make sure,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “After he got back on the bench it started tightening up and we got him out. Just needed to be careful.”
Matheny didn’t rule out Greinke, who will undergo tests and be re-evaluated, making his next start.
“Everything that the trainers gave me made me believe what they think is he’s going to be able to make his next start,” Matheny said.
Kansas City is 2-8 on the road in August, getting outscored 48-15. The Royals have been held to six or fewer hits in a team-record six straight games, and had 18 hits overall during the four-game series in which they lost three times.
Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough gave up two runs and three hits in 4 ⅓ innings during an 82-pitch outing. Shawn Armstrong (2-1) went 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win, while Pete Fairbanks worked the ninth to get his fourth save.
Ramirez put the Rays up 3-2 on a fifth-inning RBI single off Cuas (2-2) after the Royals had tied it in the top of the inning on MJ Melendez’s run-scoring single and a sacrifice fly by Bobby Witt Jr.
Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead on Ramirez’s first-inning RBI single and Christian Bethancourt’s solo homer in the second.
“I feel great,” Ramirez said. “I just keep doing what I’m doing, just focus on every at-bat to try and help the team win.”
Kansas City’s Brad Keller, who gave up five runs and six hits in two-thirds of an inning Thursday in his first relief appearance since being dropped from the rotation, allowed one hit and struck out three in two scoreless innings.
Yarbrough struck out Vinnie Pasquantino leading off the third after the four umpires met at the request of Cash and decided that Bethancourt caught a foul tip. Plate umpire Ben May originally called it a foul ball and TV replays showed that the ball did bounce in the dirt before being caught. The play is not reviewable by video.
Rays: SS Wander Franco (right hamate bone surgery) was removed from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Durham due to ongoing hand soreness. He departed his first rehab game Tuesday with the soreness and hasn’t played since.
Royals: LHP Daniel Lynch (4-8) and Chicago White Sox RHP Michael Kopech (4-9) are Monday’s scheduled starters.
Rays: Start a four-game home series against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night with Tampa Bay LHP Jeffrey Springs (5-3) facing LHP Tucker Davidson (2-3). Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani is not scheduled to pitch during the series but is hitting .406 (26 for 64) with six doubles, three triples, eight homers and 19 RBIs in 17 games against the Rays.
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