KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kris Bubic went seven strong innings, Hunter Dozier and MJ Melendez had late-inning RBIs and the Kansas City Royals beat Tampa Bay 4-2 on Sunday, winning a series against the Rays for the first time in five years.
Dozier snapped a 2-all tie with two outs in the seventh when he singled off Brooks Raley (1-1) to score Whit Merrifield. Melendez added an insurance run with a double down the left-field line in the eighth.
The Royals overcame the loss of Bobby Witt Jr. for their first series win against the Rays since 2017. They broke an 11-series losing streak to the American League East.
Bubic (2-6) tied with a season high by pitching seven innings. He gave up two runs on four hits, walked three and struck out four.
For the second straight game, the Royals lost a lead but found some timely hits late to prevail.
Witt hit an RBI single in the first inning, but exited the game before the next half-inning even started. The 22-year-old rookie stole second but then gingerly ran to third on a fly ball to center field and was removed with right hamstring tightness. He is considered day-to-day.
He has a hit in 14 of his last 16 games with 12 RBIs and eight stolen bases while hitting over .360 in that stretch.
Nick Pratto made it 2-0 in the second with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Michael A. Taylor.
Tampa Bay responded, as Yandy Diaz hit a 434-foot homer to center field for his first since May 14. The Rays tied the game in the sixth on a sac fly by Luke Raley.
Taylor Clarke got his second save of the season.
Rays: Reinstated RHP Jeffrey Springs (right lower leg tightness) from the 15-day injured list and optioned RHP Luis Patino to Triple-A Durham.
Royals: RHP Jonathan Heasley (right shoulder tendinitis) and LHP Daniel Lynch (blister) will begin rehab assignments in Triple-A Omaha.
Tampa Bay will start a four-game series in Baltimore on Monday with right-hander Corey Kluber (6-5, 3.73 ERA) on the mound. The Royals continue their homestand when they host the Angels on Monday with right-hander Zack Greinke (3-6, 4.64 ERA) getting the start.