ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Kansas City's James Shields sparkled in his return to Tropicana Field, limiting the Tampa Bay Rays to three hits and striking out 10 over seven innings and the Royals beat his former team 6-0 on Monday night.
Shields (9-4) spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Rays before being dealt to the Royals in December 2012 as part of a seven-player trade in which Kansas City sent 2013 AL rookie of the year Wil Myers and another top young prospect, Jake Odorizzi (4-8), to Tampa Bay.
The right-hander allowed singles to Ben Zobrist and James Loney in the first two innings, then worked through a jam in the third after giving up a one-out double to Kevin Kiermaier. He retired 10 straight, six by strikeout, before hitting Evan Longoria with a pitch leading off the seventh.
Alex Gordon and Omar Infante drove in runs in the third inning for the Royals, giving Shields all the offensive support he would need to beat Odorizzi.
The Royals tacked on two runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth — with Infante and Gordon both collecting their second RBIs of the game — and finished with 14 hits.
Wade Davis, another former Tampa Bay pitcher the Royals obtained in the Shields trade, worked a perfect eighth. Scott Downs finished the combined four-hitter, giving up a ninth-inning single to Zobrist.
The loss was just the third in 13 games for the Rays, who were coming off a road trip in which they went 9-2 to climb out of the AL East cellar.
Odorizzi allowed two runs and six hits, struck out eight and walked two in his third career appearance against the Royals, who beat the 24-year-old in Kansas City on April 9.
Shields, pitching at Tropicana Field for the first time since leaving Tampa Bay, won his only previous matchup against his former team 8-2 at Kansas City on April 30, 2013.
He remains Tampa Bay's all-time leader in wins (87), starts (217) and strikeouts (1,250). He won the franchise's first-ever postseason game and owns the club's only World Series victory.
NOTES: Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson will make his season debut Tuesday night, returning from right elbow surgery. The Royals will counter with LHP Jason Vargas (8-3, 3.32 ERA). ... Kansas City DH Billy Butler, who entered mired in a 3-for-23 slide, was dropped to seventh in the lineup. It's the lowest spot for him this season. ... The Royals sent OF Nori Aoki (strained left groin) to Double-A Northwest Arkansas for a rehab assignment. ... The Rays announced the signing of Dominican Republic prospect Adrian Rondon for $2.95 million on the shortstop's 16th birthday. Minor league pitcher Matt Ramsey was traded to Miami for the Marlins' second, third and fourth international bonus slots, a move that provided the team with more than $1 million to go toward the signing of Rondon.