Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) – Gregor Blanco finished 3-for-5 with three RBI and scored twice to back a complete-game effort from Bruce Chen, as Kansas City toppled Tampa Bay, 7-0, in the second of four between the clubs at Kauffman Stadium.
Billy Butler collected two hits, scored twice and drove in a run for the Royals, who have won four of five including the first two in the series.
Alex Gordon also knocked in a run, while Jarrod Dyson hit safely twice and scored two runs.
Chen (12-7) allowed just two hits while fanning seven and issuing two walks to post his fourth straight positive decision. It was the 33-year-old journeyman’s first complete-game effort since 2005 with Baltimore and marked only the third time in his career he’s finished a start. It was also his first shutout.
B.J. Upton and Sean Rodriguez posted the lone hits for the Rays, who dropped their fifth game in the last six and fell a half-game behind the Yankees in the AL East. The Yankees-Red Sox game was postponed due to rain and will be played as a doubleheader on Saturday.
James Shields (13-15) was charged in defeat for 12 hits and seven runs — six earned — over five-plus innings.
The Royals picked up a first-inning run on a bunt single, walk, and run- scoring groundout from Butler.
KC tacked on three more in the third. Dyson led off with a triple and scored on Blanco’s triple. Two batters later, Butler plated Blanco then after a walk to Kila Ka’aihue and Josh Fields single, Gordon’s base hit made it 4-0. Yuniesky Betancourt’s double-play grounder ended the rally.
In the fifth, the home team moved ahead by five runs as Butler led off with a double and later scored when Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett threw away a Gordon grounder. The lead grew to 7-0 in the sixth after Blanco’s two-run single.
Meanwhile, Chen was nearly unhittable. He retired seven of the first eight batters he faced, then after Shoppach’s one-out bunt single in the third, set down nine in a row until a one-out double from Upton in the sixth.
From there, the only blemish on Chen’s record was a two-out base on balls to Ben Zobrist in the seventh. Rocco Baldelli was retired on a fielder’s choice to end the frame, and Chen finished off his start by inducing a line out by Willy Aybar.
The Royals have won four of the six games in the season series…Chen last went the distance on April 25, 2005 at Camden Yards against the Yankees in an 8-1 victory…His only other complete game occurred on September 13, 2004 at Toronto, a 9-1 decision where he allowed five hits, fanned five without walking a batter.