ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -AP- Major league ERA leader Jason Vargas went seven more scoreless innings, Salvador Perez had a two-run double during a five-run eighth inning and the Kansas City Royals beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-0 on Thursday.
Vargas (5-1) scattered three hits and dropped his ERA from 1.19 to 1.01.
KC's Vargas lowers ERA to 1.01, Royals beat Rays 6-0
Jorge Bonifacio hit an RBI single off Diego Moreno in the decisive eighth before Whit Merrifield had a run-scoring single and then circled the bases when center fielder Kevin Kiermaier misplayed the hit for a three-base error.
Merrifield also homered for the Royals, who won three of four against the Rays. Kansas City had lost 13 of 16 entering the series.
Jake Odorizzi (2-2) gave up one run and four hits in six innings for the Rays. He had allowed three hits or fewer in each of his previous four starts.
Tampa Bay went 3-6 during a nine-game homestand against Miami, Toronto and the Royals. All three opponents are well under .500.
Merrifield put the Royals up 1-0 on a solo shot in the fourth.
Vargas made two nifty defensive plays during the fifth. He fielded Kiermaier's slow grounder down the first-base line and tagged out the speedy outfielder and also caught Derek Norris' liner.
Rays left fielder Corey Dickerson took a home run away from Eric Hosmer in the first by reaching over the short wall by the 315-foot mark near the line and catching the drive.
Kansas City center Alex Gordon took an extra-base hit away from Tim Beckham with a diving catch in the sixth. It was Gordon's first start in center this season.
There was no carry over one day after Perez was hit by a Chris Archer pitch in the seventh inning of the Rays' 12-1 win Wednesday night. Perez felt Archer was throwing at him, while Archer said there was no intent.

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