ST. PETERSBURG— Kevin Kiermaier hit his second home run in as many days and the bullpen backed a solid start by Nathan Karns with four innings of scoreless relief to power the Rays to a 3-2 victory over the Royals on Sunday at Tropicana Field.
Kiermaier’s home run was his seventh of the season and came with two outs in the sixth off Luke Hochevar, who had relieved starter Danny Duffy to open the frame.
Karns allowed six hits while striking out five and walking one in five innings of two-run ball, marking the American League-leading 19th time this season that the right-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in an outing. Duffy matched his Rays counterpart with five innings of two-run ball, allowing seven hits while striking out six and walking two.
Brandon Guyer launched his sixth home run of the year in the bottom of the third inning to knot the score at 2 after the Royals had taken a lead in the top of the frame courtesy of RBI singles from Ben Zobrist and Lorenzo Cain.
“I worked a long at-bat [in the first] so that always helps the next couple at-bats,” Guyer said. “This whole series, even though I’ve just been pinch-hitting, they’ve been pounding me with fastballs. I wasn’t necessarily looking for fastball in, but it was one of those where I kind of knew with two strikes he could try to come in.”