Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - Matt Joyce hit a two-run triple as Tampa Bay got back within a half-game of the Yankees with a 4-0 decision over Kansas City in the third installment of a four-game set from Kauffman Stadium.
Carl Crawford homered and B.J. Upton added an RBI for the Rays, who will either be tied for first place in the AL East or be one game back by the end of Saturday after the nightcap of a doubleheader between New York and Boston is complete. The Yanks topped the Red Sox, 6-5, in 10 innings in the opener.
Chad Qualls (2-0) picked up the win after retiring two batters in the third inning. Starter Andy Sonnanstine turned in 2 1/3 scoreless frames, scattering five hits.
Billy Butler and Mitch Maier each posted two hits for the Royals, who had won four of five coming in, including the first two games of this series.
Kyle Davies (8-12) was charged in the loss for six hits and four runs while fanning four and walking three in 5 2/3 frames.
Tampa collected two runs in its first at-bat as Upton and Crawford singled and later scored on a Joyce two-run triple.
Crawford's homer in the third made it 3-0 for the Rays, then in the fifth a Jason Bartlett leadoff double resulted in the visitors' fourth run as Upton lofted a sacrifice fly to center.
Sonnanstine got into trouble in the third after a Gregor Blanco bunt single, double by Mike Aviles and plunking of Butler. He fanned Kila Ka'aihue before giving way to Qualls, who induced an inning-ending double play from Josh Fields.
The Royals did not threaten the rest of the way against a host of Tampa relievers. Grant Balfour fanned two over his 1 1/3 frames. Joaquin Benoit turned in a scoreless eighth then Randy Choate worked around a walk in the ninth to lock down the victory.
It was Sonnanstine's shortest outing as a starter this season...Tampa upped its AL-best road record to 46-34...Royals relievers Jesse Chavez, Dusty Hughes and Greg Holland combined to hold Tampa hitless over the final 3 1/3 innings.