ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Kansas City manager Ned Yost was at a loss for words after the Royals blew a late four-run lead.
Sam Fuld hit a game-tying triple and then scored on an errant throw to complete a five-run ninth as the Tampa Bay Rays rallied to beat the Royals 8-7 on Wednesday night.
``I really don't know what to say,' Yost said.
Fuld hit a drive to right center off closer Joakim Soria (5-5) and wound up scoring the running run when second baseman Johnny Giavotella was charged with an error for a bad relay throw to third.
``It was the craziest 360 feet I've ever run,' Fuld said.
After Aaron Crow gave up consecutive singles in the ninth, Soria entered and gave up an RBI double to Evan Longoria, a run-scoring grounder by Ben Zobrist and Casey Kotchman's RBI infield single before Fuld's two-out hit. Soria has blown 7 saves in 28 opportunties this season.
``It wasn't a save situation ... Thought we could get through the ninth with Aaron,' Yost said. ``We knew if two guys got on, (Soria) was coming into the game.'
Salvador Perez got his first career hit, RBI and made several key defensive plays in his major league debut and Melky Cabrera homered and drove in a career-high tying five runs for Kansas City.
``He was really spectacular,' Yost said of Perez. ``He had a great debut.'
The Royals purchased the contract of the highly-regarded catcher from Triple-A Omaha. The 21-year old had a seventh-inning single in three at_bats and added a sacrifice fly. He also picked Kotchman off first during the fourth and Fuld at third in the eighth.
Cabrera had a pair of sacrifice flys and extended the lead to 7-3 with a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Jake McGee (1-1).
Matt Joyce homered for the Rays. Johnny Damon singled in the ninth to tie George Davis for 65th place on the career hits list with 2,683.
Perez had a stretch starting with two outs in the fifth where he recorded seven straight putouts, coming on two strikeouts and five pop flys.
``We'll get him in there as much as we can,' Yost said. ``He's got a chance to be really good. He's a young kid, but he's got tremendous tools. Very athletic. He throws as good as any young catcher I've ever seen. Has a real feel for calling a game.'
The Royals also placed catcher Brayan Pena on the paternity leave list and put pitcher Kyle Davies on unconditional release waivers. Pena is expected to rejoin the team on Friday.
Royals starter Felipe Paulino allowed one run, three hits and four walks in five innings.
``He developed some back stiffness running on this turf and they worked on him (Tuesday),' Yost said. ``He felt pretty good starting the game. Started to tighten up in the third and then it kind of progressively got worse. He'll be fine. I don't anticipate him missing a start.'
Kansas City went up 2-0 in the fourth on a run-scoring triple by Giavotella and Perez's sac fly off Wade Davis. The duo are among the 15 different rookies to play for Kansas City this season.
Cabrera made it 3-0 on a fifth-inning sacrifice fly. He had another sac fly in the seventh.
Joyce, cut the deficit to 3-1 with a solo shot in the fifth.
Kotchman pulled Tampa Bay within 3-2 on a sixth-inning RBI single. Joyce fouled out to Perez on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded to end the inning.
After Desmond Jennings had a one-out pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth, Perez helped preserve the 4-3 lead by picking off Fuld. Greg Holland then struck out Sean Rodriguez.
Bill Miller joined the umpiring crew, filling in for crew chief Derryl Cousins, who missed his second consecutive game because of a personal medical issue.
Notes: The Royals are 20-23 in one-run games this season. ... Kansas City rookie LHP Danny Duffy (3-5) will make his 15th big league start on Thursday. ``It's a great experience for him up here,' Yost said. ``He's got a chance to be a good one, but it's still a process, especially with a young pitcher. Just let him continue to pitch.' ... Tampa Bay RHP Jeff Niemann (6-4), Thursday's scheduled starter, is 5-0 in eight starts since returning from a lower back strain.
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