- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The pitching line in Jake Odorizzi’s return to Kauffman Stadium was forgettable.

The way the Rays right-hander actually pitched was something to remember.

The former Royals prospect was battered for seven runs on 10 hits and a walk in a 7-3 loss to Kansas City on Wednesday, but Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was quick to dismiss the results.

“I thought he was really throwing well. He didn’t do anything wrong today. He threw really well,” Maddon said. “People who look at that line are going to misinterpret that outing.”

Maddon said the only hard-hit ball was an RBI triple by Nori Aoki in a five-run fifth inning for Kansas City. Otherwise, the runs mostly came on weakly hit grounders that found holes.

And a three-run homer by Alex Gordon that caught a gust of wind at the right time.

“Those numbers are highly deceiving. Aoki’s ball was well-struck and the home run was part of natural forces of nature,” Maddon said. “It was just an unfortunate game for him.”

Odorizzi (1-1), who was part of the blockbuster 2012 trade that sent James Shields to Kansas City, echoed his manager’s sentiments: He made the pitches he wanted without getting any results.

“Things didn’t go our way today, but I was happy with the execution of pitches,” he said. “The game could have easily been going into the seventh with no runs.”

Jeremy Guthrie (2-0) recovered from a sloppy start to hold the Rays to four hits over seven innings. The only run he allowed came on Desmond Jennings’ homer in the fourth.

The right-hander, who turned 35 on Tuesday, was coming off a rough start against the White Sox. But Guthrie navigated trouble in each of the first three innings, leaving five Rays on base, and then retired his final 12 batters to hand the lead to his bullpen.

“You’re going to make good pitches and they’re going to hit them hard sometimes,” Guthrie said. “But if you make good pitches, more often you’re going to get an out.”

Well, that wasn’t the case for Odorizzi.

Billy Butler’s groundout and Gordon’s single in the fourth had given Kansas City a 2-1 lead before Lorenzo Cain singled to lead off the fifth. Aoki followed two batters later with his triple to right, and Johnny Giavotella added a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1.

Eric Hosmer and Butler followed with back-to-back singles, and Gordon popped a pitch to right-center that hung up long enough in the wind to land over the fence.

“This is a big park. We’re never going to hit a lot of home runs here,” Gordon said. “I hit it pretty good, but in this park you never know. Luckily I caught it enough.”

It was the first home run by the Royals this season.

The Royals squandered a scoring chance with runners on first and second and one out in the second inning when Mike Moustakas struck out and Gordon was thrown out heading to third.

Royals manager Ned Yost trundled onto the field and challenged the call. After a review of 2 minutes, 10 seconds, the ruling made by third base umpire Quinn Wolcott stood.

It hardly mattered the way the Royals were swinging - and the way Guthrie was pitching.

“They’ve played really well against us the last couple of years. You’ve got to give them credit,” Maddon said. “Just keep doing that stuff and it will come back to us.”

Notes: The Rays optioned LHP Jeff Beliveau to Triple-A Durham after the game. … Kelvin Herrera gave up two runs in the ninth for KC. … The Royals activated RHP Louis Coleman (bruised finger) from the DL and optioned RHP Aaron Brooks and LHP Donnie Joseph to Triple-A Omaha prior to the game. … The Rays visit Cincinnati this weekend. They’ve never won at Great American Ball Park. … Kansas City plays 13 of its next 16 on the road beginning Friday night in Minnesota.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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