- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Edinson Volquez had focused between starts on doing better in the first inning.

Things didn’t quite pan out as Volquez allowed four of his eight runs in the opening inning of the Kansas City Royals’ 12-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.

“I’ve really struggled the first inning in my last couple outings,” Volquez said. “Me and (pitching coach) Dave (Eiland) tried something different tonight to take that away, but it didn’t work.”

After Evan Longoria had a sacrifice fly, Steven Souza Jr. put the Rays up 4-0 on his three-run shot off Volquez (8-10) in the first.

Souza had gone 109 at-bats without a homer after going deep June 4 against Minnesota’s Ervin Santana.

“Hall of Fame pitchers have had issues with the first inning,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, they tried everything to get through the first. Once they got through the first they were unhittable, but a lot of pitchers have a little trouble finding their tempo and their rhythm. Then after the first they just roll. That’s what Edy does most of the time, but he just wasn’t able to control the damage tonight.”

Volquez gave up 11 hits in five-plus innings. He has allowed 22 earned runs in the first inning over 23 starts, including seven in the last two outings.

Jake Odorizzi had his third consecutive scoreless start for the Rays, who are 7-25 against the Royals since the start of the 2012 season.

“Figured out a way to beat those guys,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said.

Odorizzi (6-5) allowed two singles, walked two and had six strikeouts in six innings. The right-hander has not given up a run in 20 2/3 innings over the three-start stretch.

Enny Romero and Ryan Garton completed a two-hitter.

Kansas City had three errors, and has three games this season where it has given up at least 12 runs and made at least three errors. It happened once in the previous six seasons.

Kevin Kiermaier hit a three-run drive off Chien-Ming Wang in a five-run sixth to put the Rays ahead 11-0.

After the final six batters reached against Wang in his previous outing July 26 against the Los Angeles Angels, the first five Rays got on Wednesday before he recorded an out.

MOVING DAY

Royals: OF Billy Burns, acquired from Oakland Friday, was recalled from Triple-A Omaha and RHP Brooks Pounders was optioned to the Pacific Coast League club

TRAINER’S ROOM

Burns will probably start Thursday because Yost does not want Lorenzo Cain to play a fourth straight game on the artificial turf at Tropicana Field. Cain returned from a left hamstring strain Friday.

UP NEXT

Royals RHP Ian Kennedy (6-9) will face Rays LHP Drew Smyly (3-11) Thursday. Kennedy (26) and Smyly (22) are among the major-league leaders in home runs allowed.

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