Zack Littell, Rays bullpen hold Royals in check in a 5-1 win interrupted by 2 1/2-hour rain delay

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RAYS WIN AFTRER LENGTHY RAIN DELAY
Tampa Bay Rays’ Yandy Diaz (2) and Brandon Lowe (8) wait to back before a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, July 2, 2024, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Zack Littell pitched five innings of four-hit ball before rain arrived, four Tampa Bay relievers allowed one run once play resumed, and the Rays beat beat the Kansas City Royals 5-1 in a game that ended just after midnight Wednesday.

Brandon Lowe homered, Isaac Paredes drove in a pair of runs, and Richie Palacios had three hits, drove in a run and scored from third on a wild pitch by Brady Singer (4-5), the only run either team scored before the 2 1/2-hour delay.

When the game continued, the trio of Kevin Kelly, Colin Poche and Jason Adam surrendered just one run — Bobby Witt Jr.‘s homer in the sixth — before handing the ball to Pete Fairbanks. The Rays’ closer took care of the ninth to wrap up the win.

“Guys stayed pretty dialed in,” Littell said. “It obviously showed the way they went back out there and jumped on them.”

Littell (3-5) was pretty dialed in, too, wiggling out of one last jam just as thunder began to sound through Kauffman Stadium. MJ Melendez had hit a two-out pitch to right in the fifth and CJ Alexander followed with his first career big league hit, only for Littell to strike out Kyle Isbel and leave runners on the corners.

Sheets of rain began to fall moments after the teams walked off the field.

“We were really just chilling in here. Talking trash. Keeping it light,” Palacios said, “and making sure we had some energy when we got back on the field. We wanted to make sure we came out there and grabbed some more runs.”

Tampa Bay added to its lead when Palacios ripped an RBI double off John Schreiber in the sixth. Paredes added a two-run double off Chris Stratton in the seventh before Lowe homered off Nick Anderson in the ninth inning.

“You have to give them credit,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “One run wasn’t going to be enough.”

Singer allowed one run on three hits and three walks over five innings for Kansas City. He escaped most of his messes except for the second inning, when Palacios singled, reached third on a double by Jose Siri and scored on his wild pitch.

Singer has not won since May 19, going 0-3 in his last seven starts. But the lousy record is not entirely his fault. He’s allowed one earned run apiece in each of his last three starts, yet received two runs of support or fewer in 11 of 17 this season.

“Our bullpen matched up really well,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Everybody who came in threw really well.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: INF/OF Adam Frazier (right thumb strain) could begin a rehab assignment this week, Quatraro said. Frazier went on the injured list June 24. He has spent the past few days ramping up baseball activity.

UP NEXT

Rays RHP Ryan Pepiot (4-4, 4.40 ERA) tries to follow a strong start against Seattle when he faces the Royals for the first time in his career. Kansas City RHP Michael Wacha (4-6, 3.91) will oppose him after shutting down Cleveland his last time out.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB