Michael Wacha’s strong start again leads Royals over Rays

Michael Wacha tossed six strong innings, leading the Kansas City Royals to a 4-2 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.

After Isaac Paredes’ two-out solo homer, his 14th, put the Rays ahead in the first, Wacha permitted just one other hit while finishing six innings, walking three with eight strikeouts to earn his first win since May 20.

It was the 43rd quality start by Kansas City pitchers, third-most in the majors.

Wacha (5-6) has allowed two runs or less in seven straight starts, posting a 2.21 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings.

The Royals took a 2-1 lead in the third, highlighted by Bobby Witt Jr.’s RBI double into the left-field corner. Witt scored on Vinnie Pasquantino’s single to right.

Pasquantino has an RBI in eight-of-nine games during the current homestand and his 43 homefield RBIs lead the majors. Witt and Pasquantino each collected a pair of hits.

Working long counts, Kansas City forced 87 pitches in four innings from Ryan Pepiot. He walked three with no strikeouts, allowing two runs on four hits. Pepiot (4-5) is 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in his last five starts.

Reliever Shawn Armstrong walked two in the seventh ahead of Salvador Perez’s two-run single as the Royals led 4-1.

Chris Stratton retired just one of four batters faced in the eighth, allowing back-to-back doubles by Randy Arozarena and Amed Rosario cut Kansas City’s lead to 4-2.

With help from Kyle Isbel’s leaping catch against the centerfield wall in the ninth, James McArthur recorded the final five outs for his 15th save and his eighth straight scoreless appearance.

The Royals have won 6-of-9 during the current homestand which concludes Thursday evening.

Paredes has reached base safely in 14 straight games with seven extra-base hits and eight RBIs.

Rosario had two of the Rays five hits.

Tampa Bay has won 9-of-13 and will try for their fifth straight series win in Thursday’s rubber game.

–Field Level Media