James Shields shines, Rays down Royals 5-3

4:41 PM, Aug 22, 2012   |    comments
Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Matt Joyce scores a run in the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Tropicana Field.
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St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - A subject of trade rumors before the deadline, the Tampa Bay Rays decided to hold onto a struggling James Shields.

Shields has since turned his season around.

Shields won his fourth straight start and Jose Lobaton hit a solo homer as the Tampa Bay Rays downed the Kansas City Royals, 5-3, in the rubber match of a three-game set.

Shields (12-7) fanned seven and surrendered three runs on five hits and a walk in 7 2/3 innings for the Rays, who have won five of their last six games. Shields has 34 strikeouts and a 2.15 ERA during his winning streak.

The right-hander was 1-3 with a 6.15 ERA in a seven-start stretch before the deadline.

B.J. Upton tallied two hits and a run scored, while Ben Zobrist, Jeff Keppinger and Ryan Roberts added an RBI apiece.

Luis Mendoza (7-9) allowed two runs on five hits and four walks over 4 1/3 frames for Kansas City, which had won 14 of its last 21 games coming in.

The Royals struck first in the second inning when Jeff Francoeur hit a two-out RBI single to center field, but Tampa Bay plated a pair in the third and a run in each of the sixth and seventh innings to take the lead.

Upton and Matt Joyce hit back-to-back one-out singles in the third before Evan Longoria was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Zobrist lifted a sacrifice fly to left field, which scored Upton, before Joyce came home on Keppinger's single to center field.

Roberts ripped an RBI double in the sixth and Zobrist smacked a run-scoring double in the seventh for a 4-1 Tampa Bay edge.

The Royals battled back and pushed across two in the eighth to make it a one- run game as Alcides Escobar belted an RBI triple and Alex Gordon stroked a run-scoring single.

But the Rays got a run back in the home half as Lobaton launched a leadoff homer to dead center field, increasing Tampa Bay's cushion to 5-3, and Fernando Rodney worked a 1-2-3 ninth to notch his 39th save of the season.

Game Notes

Tampa Bay was 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base, while Kansas City finished 2-for-4 with RISP and stranded four ... Lobaton's long ball was the second of his career.

For a complete game box score, click here

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