ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – The Tampa Bay Rays’ 11-game winning streak came to an end Tuesday night when Brad Keller pitched seven strong innings and Salvador Perez hit a tiebreaking RBI single to give the Kansas City Royals a 2-1 victory.
Rich Hill struck out a career-high 13 for the Rays. Tampa Bay’s winning string was the second-longest in club history, one shy of the record set in 2004 by the then-Devil Rays managed by Lou Piniella.
Keller (4-4) allowed one run, four hits, four walks and struck out seven. Jake Brentz went 1 1/3 innings before Kyle Zimmer got two outs to get his second save.
Perez put the Royals up 2-1 on a sixth-inning single off Hill (3-2).
Hill gave up two runs and six hits, and didn’t issue a walk over eight innings. Over his last six starts, the lefty has allowed five earned runs over 35 2/3 innings, but has a 2-2 record.
Hill became the oldest player to appear in a game with the Rays at 41 years, 75 days. Hall of Famer Wade Boggs was 41 years, 73 days old when he played his final game on Aug. 27, 1999.
Hill retired his first 10 batters before Carlos Santana tied it 1 in the fourth with a home run. It was his 250th homer, which moved him within one of tying Tony Clark for 13th place all-time among switch-hitters
Brett Phillips had a single leading off the Rays third that went off Keller’s glove, stole second, went to third on a grounder and scored on a hit by Yandy Díaz.
Kansas City shortstop Adalberto Mondesi, reinstated from the 10-day injured list after missing the first 45 games this season with a right oblique sprain, doubled twice in four at-bats. He was hurt in the Royals’ final spring training game on March 29.
Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier made a nifty running catch on Andrew Benintendi’s drive to the left-center field warning track in the second. He made the grab behind left fielder Austin Meadows, who was also trying to track down the ball. Kiermaier also made a leaping catch at the wall on Benintendi fly in the eighth.
The Rays reached the 85 percent vaccination level that allows MLB protocols to be relaxed.
The players and staff are no longer required to wear masks in the dugout.
“I’m excited about that,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “We’ve got to keep adhering to protocols and the guidelines that are in place.”
Royals: Manager Mike Matheny said OF Hunter Dozier (concussion), who is at Omaha, “seems to be getting his timing right.”
Rays: 1B Ji-Man Choi, who left Monday’s game against Toronto with right knee soreness, was the DH.
Royals LHP Mike Minor (3-2) and Tampa RHP Tyler Glasnow (4-2) are Wednesday night’s starters.