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Elliot Johnson has three-run homer against Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Elliot Johnson had a three three-run homer for his second hit of an eight-run sixth inning Thursday night, leading the surging Kansas City Royals to a 10-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Johnson, who was traded to Kansas City by the Rays in February, led off the big inning with a single and chased Jeremy Hellickson (4-3) with his second homer of the season, both coming against Tampa Bay.

Johnson got his third hit of the game in the eighth inning and is 6-for-11 with four RBI against his former team while batting .202 with three RBI against every other team.

Ervin Santana (5-5) gave up five hits and an unearned run in 72⁄3 innings.

The Royals, who have won eight of nine, set a franchise record by holding an opponent to three runs or fewer in a 12th straight game.

Hellickson lost for the first time since April 25, giving up eight runs on 10 hits in 52⁄3 innings.

Johnson led off the sixth inning of a scoreless game with a single. After Alcides Escobar’s double, Alex Gordon drove in the first run with Kansas City’s third straight hit. Three more singles and an RBI double by Miguel Tejada preceded Johnson’s three-run homer to give the Royals an 8-0 lead. In all, the Royals sent 11 men to the plate in the inning.

It was the Royals’ biggest inning of the season, exceeding the seven runs they scored in the third inning May 15 at Los Angeles.

Eric Hosmer’s home run off Jake Odorizzi made it 9-1 in the seventh.

Gordon had two hits in raising his road batting average to .381, compared to .231 at home.

Matt Joyce had two hits for the Rays, who have lost four of five.

Bench coach Chino Cadahia served as the Royals’ manager for a day in the absence of Ned Yost, who was in Georgia attending the wedding of his daughter, Jenny. “Nothing changes. I’m still going to throw BP today, still going to hit fungos,” said Cadahia, who last managed in Puerto Rico in 2011. “It’s just Ned is not here and we’ll try to do the best we can.”

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