ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Elliot Johnson had a three three-run homer for his second hit of an eight-run sixth inning Thursday night, leading the surging Kansas City Royals to a 10-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Johnson, who was traded to Kansas City by the Rays in February, led off the big inning with a single and chased Jeremy Hellickson (4-3) with his second homer of the season, both coming against Tampa Bay.
Johnson got his third hit of the game in the eighth inning and is 6 for 11 with four RBIs against his former team while batting .202 with three RBIs against every other team.
Ervin Santana (5-5) gave up five hits and an unearned run in 7 2-3 innings.
The Royals, who have won eight of nine, set a franchise record by holding an opponent to three runs or fewer in a 12th straight game.
Hellickson lost for the first time since April 25, giving up eight runs on 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Johnson led off the sixth inning of a scoreless game with a single. After Alcides Escobar’s double, Alex Gordon drove in the first run with Kansas City’s third straight hit. Three more singles and an RBI double by Miguel Tejada preceded Johnson’s three-run homer to give the Royals an 8-0 lead. In all the Royals sent 11 men to the plate in the inning.
It was the Royals’ biggest inning of the season, exceeding the seven runs they scored in the third inning at Los Angeles on May 15.
Eric Hosmer’s home run off Jake Odorizzi made it 9-1 in the seventh.
Gordon had two hits in raising his road batting average to .381, compared to .231 at home.
Matt Joyce had two hits for the Rays, who have lost four of five.