KANSAS CITY — Bruce Chen went seven innings in another workmanlike start, Jeff Francoeur and Yuniesky Betancourt both went deep and the Kansas City Royals beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-2 on Tuesday night.
Betancourt hit a two-run shot during a four-run third inning against Chris Archer (0-2), and Francoeur added a three-run homer during a four-run eighth to give Kansas City some breathing room.
Alex Gordon and Billy Butler also drove in runs to pace a Royals offense that was outscored by St. Louis 30-14 over the weekend, but has trumped Tampa Bay 16-2 so far this series.
The Royals will go for the sweep on Wednesday afternoon.
Chen (7-6) gave up a run in the first inning and Brooks Conrad's solo shot in the second, but was otherwise stingy on another warm night in Kansas City. The 35-year-old left-hander managed to avoid any serious trouble to win for the seventh time in his last nine decisions.
After getting shut out by Luke Hochevar on Monday night, Tampa Bay wasted little time scoring in this one. Carlos Pena slapped a one-out single to left field in the first inning, Jeff Keppinger added a base hit, and Hideki Matsui hit a fly ball to center that gave the Rays a 1-0 lead.
Conrad, who was claimed off waivers from Milwaukee last week, made it 2-0 with his homer.
That's where the highlights ended for Tampa Bay.
The Royals started to hit Archer in the third inning, though they got plenty of help from Rays shortstop Sean Rodriguez, who committed errors on consecutive plays.
Jarrod Dyson led off with a single, and Alcides Escobar sent a rocket off the wall in left-center, just missing his second homer of the year. He was credited with a double, but went to third as Dyson scampered home when Rodriguez's relay throw to the plate resulted in an error.
Gordon stepped the plate and sent a grounder at Rodriguez, which brought home Escobar with the tying run. Rodriguez couldn't field the ball cleanly, which allowed Gordon to reach first.
It proved to be a costly when Betancourt homered over the bullpen in left to make it 4-0.
The 23-year-old Archer, who was recalled last week to start in place of the injured Jeremy Hellickson, managed to keep things close into the sixth. He finally turned the game over to the Tampa Bay bullpen, and that's when Kansas City put the game away.
Gordon doubled leading off the eighth inning, and after Mike Moustakas worked a one-out walk, Butler came through with an RBI single. Francoeur was next to the plate and crushed a pitch from reliever Brandon Gomes over the wall for an exclamation-point home run.
The Royals' once-scuttling offense has scored at least eight runs seven times this season — that includes exactly eight runs each of the past three games.