KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Desmond Jennings' strong season debut was not enough to give the Tampa Bay Rays a victory.
Jennings doubled, singled, walked twice, stole a base, scored two runs and drove in another in a 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
Jennings is a highly touted prospect, who was just called up from Triple-A Durham.
``He had a wonderful day,' Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
The speedy Jennings scored from first on a Johnny Damon double to shallow center in the sixth that gave the Rays a 4-2 advantage.
``That was fabulous,' Maddon said. ``That's the kind of instinctive baserunning we like about him. He made the play happen and gave (third base coach) Tom (Foley) a chance to send him. He put us in a position to do that.'
Said Jennings: ``There were two outs when Johnny hit it. I knew I was going to third. I didn't know what happened with the hit, but I saw him Foley when I got to third and kept going.'
Jennings hit .275 with 12 home runs, 19 doubles and an International League-leading 68 runs when he was promoted.
``It gave me a little confidence,' Jennings said of his production. ``I felt good against the lefty.'
Joakim Soria worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 10th and Eric Hosmer doubled home the winning run in the bottom of the inning.
Brandon Gomes (0-1) threw two pitches in the 10th and took the loss. Billy Butler singled to right to lead off the inning. Mike Aviles ran for Butler and scored on Hosmer's double to left-center.
The Royals have won four straight to match their season-high winning streak.
The Rays loaded the bases in the 10th with none out, but failed to score. Rookie Aaron Crow, the Royals' representative at the All-Star game, began the inning by walking Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton. He was replaced by Soria, who gave up a single to Matt Joyce to load the bases.
Soria (5-3) got Casey Kotchman on a comebacker, forcing out Longoria at home. He struck out pinch hitter Sam Fuld and Elliot Johnson looking to end the 10th.
Alex Gordon's two-out double in the bottom of the ninth scored Alcides Escobar to tie the score at 4-4.
Kyle Farnsworth, who pitched for the Royals the past two seasons, blew his fourth save in 23 attempts.
Jennings led off the game with a triple and scored on Ben Zobrist's one-out double off Royals left-hander Jeff Francis. The Rays could have added more in the first, but left the bases loaded on Kotchman's ground out to end the inning.
Jeff Niemann left after six innings, holding the Royals to three runs, two earned, and seven hits, while striking out four and walking none. Niemann is 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA in four July starts.
Johnson tripled to lead off the second and scored on Jennings' double.
Mike Moustakas, who drove in the first three Kansas City runs, doubled home Butler, who had reached on an Longoria fielding error, and Hosmer, who had singled, to the score at 2-2 in the fourth. Moustakas' sacrifice fly in the sixth scored Hosmer.
Zobrist and Longoria hit back-to-back doubles in the fifth to put the Rays back on top 3-2.
Francis, who is winless in his past seven starts, allowed three runs and nine hits in five innings, while striking out six and walking two.
Notes: Damon's double was his 504th, tying him with Roberto Alomar for 49th on the career list. ... Escobar, the only Royal to play in all the first 100 games, was back in the lineup Saturday. He left in the sixth inning Friday after being spiked in the right shin by Fuld when he slid into second base to break up a double play. ... Jennings became the 13th rookie used by the Rays this season. That's the most by any big league club. The Royals have played 11 rookies, including eight pitchers, this season. ... Rookie RHP Greg Holland struck out six in three innings, matching the Royals high for strikeouts this season by a reliever.
The Associated Press News Service
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