St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Evan Longoria hit a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 on Tuesday in the second tilt of a three-game set.
Brandon Guyer finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and James Loney and Logan Forsythe each drove in a run for the Rays, who have won four of their last five games.
Brad Boxberger (2-1) earned the win after tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for starter Jeremy Hellickson, who gave up just one run on six hits in 4 1/3 frames in his 2014 debut after having offseason elbow surgery.
"Way too many three-ball counts. The pitch count kind of snuck up on me a little bit," said Hellickson.
Lorenzo Cain tripled among his four hits and Salvador Perez drove in three runs for Kansas City, which has dropped three of its last four. Jason Vargas (8-4) gave up two runs on six hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.
Tampa Bay went ahead in the sixth. Ben Zobrist led off with a single and went to third after Guyer hustled to second on a line-drive double to left with no outs. Longoria brought in both runners with a base hit to right, making it a 2-1 game.
Kansas City squandered a great opportunity in the seventh, Cain's two-out liner eluded a diving Kevin Kiermaier in right field for a triple. After Eric Hosmer walked, Perez grounded out to pitcher Grant Balfour to strand the tying run at third.
Guyer singled and Longoria reached on a fielder's choice to start the eighth. Loney's double into the right-field corner plated Guyer and Forsythe's sac fly to deep right brought around Longoria and pushed the advantage to 4-1.
The Royals got within one in the ninth. Cain singled and Hosmer doubled before Perez plated them both with a base hit. Jake McGee recovered, getting Alex Gordon to ground out before striking out Omar Infante for his sixth save of the season.
"We kept fighting until the end," said Cain. "We did our best to make a comeback there but fell short."
The Royals opened the scoring in the fifth. Cain singled to left with one out and moved to second on a wild pitch. Hosmer's grounder to left placed runners on the corners and chased Hellickson from the game. Perez's RBI groundout off Boxberger scored Cain.