Rally falls short for Royals in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Rays on-deck batter James Loney, left, congratulates Ben Zobrist, center, and Brandon Guyer, right, after they scored on Evan Longoria's two-run single during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, July 8, 2014 in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)
Tampa Bay Rays on-deck batter James Loney, left, congratulates Ben Zobrist, center, and Brandon Guyer, right, after they scored on Evan Longoria's two-run single during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, July 8, 2014 in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Evan Longoria drove in two runs, Jeremy Hellickson went 4 1-3 innings in his season debut, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 on Tuesday night.

The Rays opened the sixth with three consecutive hits, including a two-run single by Longoria off Jason Vargas (8-4), to take a 2-1 lead. Vargas, who allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings, was coming off seven innings in the Royals’ 4-0 win Wednesday against Minnesota.

Hellickson, coming back after arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow in January, gave up one run and six hits.

James Loney had an RBI double and Logan Forsythe hit a sacrifice fly as Tampa Bay took a 4-1 lead in the eighth.

Salvador Perez had three RBIs, including a two-run single off Jake McGee in the ninth that pulled the Royals within 4-3. Kansas City had at least one baserunner in all nine innings.

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