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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Tampa Bay Rays and the Kansas City Royals, two struggling teams, will meet again Tuesday in the middle game of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
The Rays edged by the Royals 2-1 in the opener on Monday with Matt Duffy collecting three hits and driving in all of the Tampa Bay runs. Rookie left-hander Ryan Yarbrough got out of a bases-loaded, one-out, fifth-inning jam to post his first career victory as a starter.
It was only the Rays’ fourth victory in their last 20 games in Kansas City.
The Rays brought up left-hander Anthony Banda to start against the Royals. This will be his Tampa Bay debut. He was acquired in a three-team, six-player deal in February involving the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees.
Banda was 4-2 with a 3.50 ERA in seven starts with Triple-A Durham. He allowed 14 earned runs in 36 innings, giving up 37 hits, walking 16 and striking out 44.
Banda appeared in eight major league games, four of them starts, last year with the Diamondbacks. He went 2-3 with a 5.96 ERA. He logged a 7.32 ERA in his starts. He had a 1.50 ERA in four bullpen appearances in September.
Banda has a 93-94 mph fastball and has touched 96.
In his last minor league start, the 24-year-old worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowed four hits and walked three.
The Royals will counter with veteran right-hander Ian Kennedy, who is coming off an awful start Thursday in Baltimore.
This will be Kennedy’s ninth start, but in his eighth he was charged with a season-high nine runs and eight hits, three of them home runs, in four innings.
The 33-year-old right-hander dropped to 1-4 and his ERA jumped to 4.61. Kennedy had allowed 21 earned runs in 41 innings, giving up 48 hits, including seven homers, and walking 23.
He is 1-5 against Tampa Bay with a 5.76 ERA, surrendering 29 earned runs in 41 1/3 innings. His lone victory over Tampa Bay came Sept. 1, 2007, in his major league debut.
Kennedy has a 2.77 ERA at Kauffman Stadium this year but is 0-2. He ended an 18-start winless skid at home on Sept. 29 last year when he beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in his final 2017 start.
The Rays picked up just their second victory in 10 games and were coming off a 17-1 loss on Sunday at Baltimore. So to get a one-run road victory was a nice turnaround.
“I’m not overly concerned with that,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Just win the game.”
Alex Colome stranded Jon Jay, who had tripled, at third base to end Monday’s game and collect his seventh save.
“It felt nice because the guys want to win,” Colome said. “We talked today. Stay aggressive and win games, try to win the series.”
It was a 16-run improvement from the Sunday debacle in which outfielder Johnny Field pitched the eighth inning.
“Yeah, it is too much,” Colome said. “I said, ‘we have to win today.’”
The Rays did, and with a win Tuesday would clinch the series.