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Seth Lugo becomes AL’s first 8-game winner, Royals beat Rays 8-1 to improve to 33-19

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Seth Lugo became the American League’s first eight-game winner, Michael Massey and Bobby Witt Jr, homered and the Kansas City Royals beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-1 on Friday night for their seventh consecutive victory.

Lugo (8-1) allowed one run and four hits, lowering his AL-best ERA from 1.79 to to 1.74. Only Philadelphia’s Ranger Suárez has more victories in the majors with nine.

“He’s been amazing,” Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro said.

Lugo struck out three and walked two, and became the first Royals starter to win each of his first five road starts to open the season.

“I felt like I had to battle tonight,” Lugo said. “Didn’t feel like I had my best stuff, but stayed in the zone and got some contact.”

The Royals are a season-best 14-game over .500 at 33-19. Kansas City was 15-37 after 52 games last season and did not get to 33 wins until Aug. 1.

“The confidence we have is great,” Witt said. “We’re just putting together some great, great team things. It’s a lot of fun.”

Massey put Kansas City ahead 5-1 in the fifth with a three-run homer off Tyler Alexander (2-3). Massey, who has 21 RBIs in his last 21 games, left in the sixth due to lower back tightness.

“I’ve had experience with it,” Massey said. “Got out of there early, got treatment done, and we’ll see.”

Witt extended his hitting streak to seven games with a solo homer against Alexander in a two-run seventh that made it 8-1. Both dugouts were warned by the umpires after Alexander hit the next batter after Witt, Vinnie Pasquantino, with a 90.3 mph fastball.

Kansas City tied a franchise record set by the 1978 team of scoring eight or more runs in five straight games,

“I think the word that comes to mind they’ve just been relentless,” Quatraro said.

Tampa Bay has lost a season-high five in a row to fall to 25-27.

The Rays loaded the bases with one out in the first against Lugo, but scored just once on Jonathan Aranda’s fielder’s choice grounder.

Tampa Bay finished with four hits and is hitting .237 as a team.

“I’m concerned,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “But I’ve been concerned for quite sometime. We’re not getting it done.”

After opener Shawn Armstrong went two perfect innings. Alexander gave up eight runs and 11 hits in five innings. Alexander took a perfect game into the eighth in his previous outing, a start May 17 at Toronto.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: Reliever Carlos Hernández (right shoulder impingement) was reinstated from the 15-day injured list and pitched the ninth. The righty had been out since opening day. To clear a roster spot, RHP Tyler Duffey was designated for assignment.

Rays: OF Josh Lowe (right side strain) received a cortisone shot in an attempt to avoid going on the injured list. … RHP Shane Baz (Tommy John surgery) was optioned to Triple-A Durham after making four minor league rehab starts.

UP NEXT

Royals RHP Brady Singer (4-2, 2.70 ERA) and Rays RHP Aaron Civale (2-4, 5.92 ERA) are set to start Saturday.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

By MARK DIDTLER
Associated Press

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