Luke Hochevar tossed his second career shutout, Eric Hosmer homered and Yuniesky Betancourt drove in three runs to lead the Kansas City Royals to an 8-0 rout of the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.
Alcides Escobar and Alex Gordon both had three hits for the Royals, who were coming off an embarrassing sweep at the hands of St. Louis in which they were outscored 30-14.
Hochevar (5-7) provided some much-needed rest for their weary bullpen.
The mercurial right-hander struck out eight while walking only one in his second straight dominant outing. The same starter who had been allowing a run per inning earlier this season has gone 16 2-3 innings without allowing anybody to cross home plate.
No Royals starter had even gone eight innings so far this season.
Alex Cobb (3-4) didn't fare nearly as well for Tampa Bay, getting touched for a run in the first inning and then laboring through a five-run third that doomed the Rays to defeat.
Cobb still managed his first career complete game for Tampa Bay, allowing 13 hits in falling to 1-4 in his last five starts.
The banged-up Rays came into the game riding plenty of momentum after a double-header sweep of Philadelphia, while the Royals limped in after the rough series against the Cardinals.
Somebody must have flipped the script.
It was Kansas City that came out swinging from the start, with Gordon's leadoff double setting up an RBI double by Mike Moustakas when the ball bounced off right fielder Ben Zobrist's glove and over his head after he appeared to briefly lose it in the setting sun.
Cobb worked through a perfect second inning before coming unglued in the third.
It started with Escobar's bunt single and a base hit by Gordon, and included a wild pitch that plate umpire Todd Tichenor accidentally kicked away from catcher Jose Molina, allowing the two runners advance. Betancourt followed with a two-run single.
Billy Butler came to the plate with one out and added a single, and Jeff Francoeur followed with an RBI single in which Butler was thrown out trying to reach third. Hosmer contributed an RBI single, and Salvador Perez added another run-scoring single, though he was cut down to end the inning after making a wide turn around first.
The Royals had five runs on seven singles in a span of eight batters.
The Royals added another run on Betancourt's sacrifice fly in the fourth inning, and Hosmer went deep in the eighth, though none of it was necessary the way Hochevar was dealing on a steamy night in Kansas City.
Hochevar got some help from double-plays in the first and seventh innings, but otherwise took care of things himself. He worked a perfect second and sixth, and came back from consecutive base hits to start the fifth with three consecutive strikeouts.
It was the first time he had gone eight innings since last Sept. 3 against Cleveland.
This time, Hochevar managed to finish things off.
Notes: Rays 1B Carlos Pena went 0 for 3, dropping his average to
.197. DH Hideki Matsui went 0 for 4 and is hitting .159. ... Royals
RHP Roman Colon was assigned outright to Triple-A Omaha. ... LHP
Matt Moore starts Tuesday night for Tampa Bay. LHP Bruce Chen goes
for Kansas City.