ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Kansas City Royals' offense was silenced by James Shields.
Shields threw a six-hitter for his major league-best eighth complete games this season, Evan Longoria homered and had four RBIs, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Royals 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Kansas City has scored just one run in losing the first two games of the four-game series. The Royals were hitless in five at_bats with runners in scoring position Tuesday and are 2 for 17 over the last two games.
``We had a couple chances,' Kansas City right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. ``Guys like Shields, you get a guy on third and that's when those guys become their best.'
The lack of offense wasted a solid effort by Jeff Francis (4-12), who gave up four runs and five hits over seven innings. The left-hander retired 15 in a row after allowing the first three batters to reach base in the first.
``It feels frustrating because he pitches a great game,' Francoeur said.
Francis struck out four.
``I felt about as good as I've felt this year,' Francis said. ``James Shields kind of just stole the show. He was pretty stellar.'
Shields (11-9) also has four shutouts this year. The right-hander is 6-2 in nine career starts against Kansas City.
``James Shields, wow, really good stuff,' Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.
Longoria drove in two runs on a single during the first and hit a two-run homer in the sixth. He has driven in 12 runs over his last 12 games despite having just nine hits during the stretch.
The game had a three-man umpiring crew because crew chief Derryl Cousins was unavailble due to a personal medical issue. His replacment, Chris Conroy, didn't make it to the ballpark in time to take the field.
The time of the contest was 1 hour, 53 minutes - the fastest nine-inning game in Tampa Bay history.
Longoria put the Rays ahead 2-0 with his two-run single in the first. Desmond Jennings was hit by a pitch and Johnny Damon had a bunt single, and both later scored on Longoria's hit after a double steal.
``You take Longoria out of their lineup and we're still playing,' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ``But obviously you can't do that.'
Kansas City had two on and no outs in the third, but failed to score when Alcides Escobar popped out on a sacrifice bunt attempt and Alex Gordon grounded into a double play.
Melky Cabrera was caught stealing at second in the fourth after Billy Butler struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch. The next batter, Eric Hosmer, walked and became the first player to steal a base this season with Shields pitching when he stole second.
Damon, who entered mired in a 2-for-31 slide, had two hits in four at_bats. The designated hitter, with 2,682 career hits, moved within one of tying George Davis for 65th place on the all-time list.
Notes: The Royals have been shutout six times this season. ... Kansas City LF Alex Gordon is 1 for 45 in 13 games at Tampa Bay. ... Shields was the fifth consecutive starting pitcher with double-digit wins this season that the Royals have faced. ... Kansas City RHP Felipe Paulino (1-4), Wednesday's scheduled starter, has 49 strikeouts and 11 walks - two intentional - in his last seven outings. ... Tampa Bay RHP Wade Davis (8-7) will look to improve on his early-inning struggles in his start on Wednesday. ``That's going to be my main goal, to go out and get through it a lot better this time,' Davis said. He has overcome bad first innings in his previous two starts to pitch six and 7 2-3 innings, respectively.
The Associated Press News Service
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