St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Salvador Perez's go-ahead three-run homer in the ninth inning was the deciding factor as the Kansas City Royals came from behind to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4, in the rubber match of a three-game set on Wednesday.
Eric Hosmer also homered and Omar Infante finished with three hits for the Royals, who have won 10 of their last 13 games against the Rays.
"It's tough to win games here," Royals outfielder Alex Gordon said. "It's huge for us."
Aaron Crow (4-1) tossed a scoreless eighth inning to earn the win. Starter Yordano Ventura gave up four runs on five hits and four walks in five innings.
Kevin Kiermaier's fourth-inning grand slam accounted for the Rays' scoring. The right fielder finished 4-for-4 for Tampa Bay, which lost four of six meetings with Kansas City this season.
Kirby Yates (0-1) was tagged with the loss after giving up Perez's homer. Alex Cobb gave up just two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts across 6 2/3 frames.
Jarrod Dyson singled off Joel Peralta to lead off the ninth. Dyson stole second and Hosmer walked after Lorenzo Cain struck out. Yates took over for Peralta and was greeted with a towering shot to left from Perez.
"I felt good about Peralta," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "I also felt good about Yates, but he put a pitch in a bad spot and lost the game."
Greg Holland retired the Rays in order during the home half to earn his 24th save of the season.
Hosmer drove a first-pitch fastball over the wall in right to give the Royals an early 1-0 lead in the first.
The Royals added a run in the fourth. Perez, Infante and Billy Butler all singled to load the bases before Raul Ibanez's groundout scored Perez. Cobb limited the damage by getting Danny Valencia to line out and Alcides Escobar to strike out.
Tampa Bay took the lead with one swing of the bat in the home half. Evan Longoria singled and James Loney and Jose Molina both walked to load the bases before Kiermaier crushed a 1-2 curveball into the right-field seats for a 4-2 lead.
Molina and Kiermaier both got aboard with one-out singles off Kelvin Herrera in the sixth. Two batters later, Ben Zobrist walked to load the bases, but Scott Downs came on and struck out Logan Forsythe to diffuse the threat.
Kansas City threatened in the seventh. Dyson reached on a force out at second and Lorenzo Cain singled to place runners at the corners with two outs. Grant Balfour replaced Cobb and walked Hosmer, but Perez popped up to leave the bases loaded.
The Rays had the chance to add more runs in the eighth. Kiermaier singled and Desmond Jennings and Zobrist both walked to load the bases with two outs, but Forsythe flied out to center.