The matchup of Yordano Ventura and Chris Archer had the potential to be a truly exciting game. With two excellent young starters facing off, runs were likely to be at a premium. That certainly turned out to be the case, as the Kansas City Royals fell to the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0.
The Royals had their chances. With one out in the third, Alcides Escobar singled, bringing up Jarrod Dyson. Dyson grounded to short, and it appeared as though the Rays had a chance to turn a double play to get out of the inning. However, Ben Zobrist did not control the ball, allowing Escobar to move up on the error. A bunt single by Norichika Aoki loaded the bases, and it appeared as though the Royals would get on the board. However, Eric Hosmer grounded into a double play, as Archer escaped the jam to keep the Royals off the board.
Meanwhile, Ventura was cruising along in his 2014 debut. Despite running up his pitch count early, Ventura fired six shutout innings, allowing only two hits while striking out six without allowing a walk.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Royals had a chance to give Ventura a chance for the win. Once again, they loaded the bases with one out. Hosmer drew a walk, and was followed by base hits from Salvador Perez and Billy Butler. This rally would once again come to naught as Alex Gordon popped up to short for the second out, and Archer got Danny Valencia to ground out to end the threat.
Archer did his part for Tampa bay, nearly matching Ventura frame by frame. Although he was not as dominant, Archer finished with seven shutout innings, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out four batters.
Now, it was a matter of which bullpen would crack first. In the top of the eighth, it appeared as though Wade Davis may be that pitcher. A walk and a hit batter put runners on first and second for the Rays, but Davis was able to strike out the next two hitters to keep the Rays off the board.
In the bottom of the inning, the Royals once again had a chance to score, putting runners on first and second with one out. After Butler fouled out, Gordon drew a walk to load the bases yet again. This time, Joel Peralta struck out Valencia on three pitches to end the threat, keeping the game scoreless into the top of the ninth.
There, everything fell apart. Greg Holland was brought in, and allowed an infield single to Wil Myers. After getting the next two outs, a wild pitch allowed Myers to reach second. Then, with a 3-2 count, James Loney singled on a ball that Valencia was unable to get to, plating Myers to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. Although Mike Moustakas led off the bottom of the inning with his first hit of the year, Grant balfour shut the door, preserving the victory for Tampa Bay.
This defeat marks the Royals third one run loss, all of which have occurred in the ninth inning or later. Holland gave up a run on two hits, striking out one in his inning of work as his record fell to 0-1. Aoki was 3-5 with two strikeouts in the loss.