Crawford had a tiebreaking two-run triple to lead the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to a 9-5 win over the Royals on Sunday.
“That’s the most painful triple I ever had to earn,” said Crawford, who had earlier fouled a ball off his toe. “It still hurts.”
Crawford has 50 triples in 535 career games. It was his first this season.
“It’s one of the funnest plays in all of sports, watching C.C. hit a triple,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s one of the strongest runners I’ve ever watched. He runs hard and he runs fast. He’s intense.”
Jonny Gomes, Damon Hollins and Ty Wigginton homered for Tampa Bay, which has won seven consecutive games against the Royals dating to last season. The Devil Rays, at 7-6, are off to the second-best start in franchise history.
The Devil Rays scored three runs in the sixth to take the lead. Tomas Perez had an RBI single before Crawford drove in two with a triple off Steve Stemle (0-1) to make it 6-4. Wigginton hit a two-run drive in the seventh to extend the Tampa Bay lead to four.
“I don’t know what to say,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “We didn’t swing the bats.”
Redman was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list before the game after being sidelined by a left knee injury. He went five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits.
“I had to make some adjustments and find out what was working,” Redman said. “I was really satisfied with myself physically.”
Hollins hit a solo homer in the second to put Tampa Bay up 3-2. Kansas City drew even again on Paul Bako’s RBI single in the fourth.
Tampa Bay rookie Jason Hammel made his second career start filling in for the injured Mark Hendrickson, who is on the 15-day disabled list with left shoulder tightness. He gave up three runs and four hits in five innings.
Hammel was optioned to Triple-A Durham after the game. The Devil Rays recalled reliever Chad Orvella from Durham, and he will join the team for the start of a nine-game road trip that begins Tuesday in Boston.
“The first one we got some things done and I improved in the second one today,” Hammel said. “We’re just going to keep working on that and show that I can compete.”
Hendrickson will not be ready to pitch in an extended spring training game Monday as originally planned and will long toss instead. Tampa Bay had hoped that the left-hander would rejoin the rotation next Saturday.
“That spot is open,” Maddon said.
Tampa Bay SS Julio Lugo (abdominal strain) could play in extended spring training games later this week. He hopes to rejoin the team during a three-game series at the New York Yankees that starts April 25. … Kansas City has walked 40 batters—including five Sunday—in the past six games. … The Royals placed RHP starter Denny Bautista on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right pectoral muscle. LHP Jeremy Affeldt will replace Bautista in Tuesday’s game at the Chicago White Sox. … The Devil Rays have hit 19 homers in 13 games. … The Devil Rays have outscored the Royals 51-23 in their last seven meetings.