Apr 7, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas (51) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Vargas baffles Tampa Bay Rays in 4-2 victory

All eyes were on Kansas City Royals second baseman, Omar Infante, who was hit in the jaw by a pitch in the seventh inning. His status is unknown. Photo by Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals lefty Jason Vargas notched his first victory in a Royals uniform by baffling the Tampa Bay Rays en route to a 4-2 win.

Vargas weaved pitches in, out, up and down in tossing eight shutout innings before yielding a lead-off home run to Ben Zobrist in the ninth. Vargas was a stingy as the crowd was sparse, as 12,087 watched the crafty veteran give up only four hits and one walk with two strike outs.
The Royals got all the insurance they needed when Alcides Escobar hit a two-out, 3-run double off the left field wall in the sixth. For Escobar, it was his second hit of the season, and he gave Vargas and the Royals all the breathing room they needed after making one run scored in the first stand up through the first five frames.

The Royals jumped on Rays starter Matt Moore early. Nori Aoki led off the bottom of the first with triple over the head of left fielder Sean Rodriguez. With one out, Eric Hosmer sliced a single between third and short to put the Royals up 1-0.

Vargas looked like Sandy Koufax early, striking out Desmond Jennings and Will Meyers to start the game. Those would be his last strikeouts. Instead, Vargas pitched more like himself, working around a lead off double by Evan Longoria in the second and a first-and-third with two outs in the sixth.

In the bottom of the sixth, Alex Gordon singled on a line drive to right. Heath Bell replaced Cesar Ramos who had come in in the fifth to replace Moore, who left with elbow soreness. Salvador Perez singled, moving Gordon to second. After Mike Moustakas struck out, Lorenzo Cain reached safely on a slow bouncer to shortstop. That’s when the unlikeliest offense hero for the Royals, Escobar, turned on a 1-0 pitch and drove it off the wall in the left field corner, clearing the bases, making the score 4-0, helping move the Royals back to .500 with a 3-3 record.

NOTABLES: Omar Infante was hit by a pitch in the jaw leading off the seventh. He was helped off the field. Greg Holland gave up one earned run in the ninth and recorded his third save. Jason Vargas threw 110 pitches. The Royals called up Donnie Joseph and Michael Mariot from Triple-A Omaha after placing relievers Tim Collins and Francisley Bueno on the disabled list. Salvador Perez raised his batting average to .444. The combined batting of the Royals third base position through six games is 1-for-22 (Mike Moustakas 0-18, Danny Valencia 1-4).
NEXT GAME: Tuesday, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Kansas City Royals, 7:10 p.m. Chris Archer (1-0, 3.00) vs. Yordano Ventura (0-0, 0.00).

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  • unclejesse40

    How long do you think before we start to see a real platoon split at third?

    • The Plaindealer

      Yost said he’s going to stick with Moose for 100 at bats. Now, if you
      have the same feel for Yost that I do, you believe that come Hell or
      high water, Yost won’t do anything until Moose’s 100th at bat for fear
      of looking like he had to make a contrary decision. Given that, 100 at
      bats is essentially 1/6th of the season. What did 1/6th of the season do to
      the Royals last year? Just look at their abysmal record in the month of
      May. That’s what 1/6th of the season does to you. So, if Ned allows everyone to be in a major slump 1/6th of the season, collectively we have another May 2013 on hands.
      Who, me, panic!? With Ned at the helm…heck yes!

    • jimfetterolf

      Before the season a month was predicted. It will be based more on eyeballs than stats, if Moose is maintaining the adjustments and just having bad luck, that’s one thing, but if he’s pressing and reverts back to last year’s disorganized swing and poor discipline, it could happen faster and may even lead to a demotion to put things back together in Omaha.

      Plaindealer, all a matter of depth. Guys without a push behind them will get more time. Gio is playing some 3rd and hitting well, Colon isn’t exactly dominating, so that influences the length of leash.

  • jimfetterolf

    On Omar infante, Lee got an email from the team stating no concussion but a sprained jaw. They’ll watch him for 48 hours, then make a decision, so looks like Valente will get a couple of games unless they go for the 7 day DL, which might be wisest.

    • Hunter Samuels

      Since he doesn’t have a concussion, they can’t use the 7-day DL. If he needs more than a couple of days off, they’ll have to put him on the 15-day DL and call up one of the middle infielders from Omaha.

      • jimfetterolf