Soria takes step back following vintage stretch

ST. PETERSBURG -- When Joakim Soria gave up three hits and let the Royals' four-run lead melt away on Wednesday night, it was his seventh blown save this season, by far his career high.

His previous high was four in his rookie year.

"That was really bad for us, really bad for me," Soria said in the aftermath of the 8-7 loss to the Rays. "Their guys hit the ball really quick and made me work in the counts. It's been a bad year the whole year, but we have to learn from this. But we'll make adjustments for the next outing. I have to make better pitches."

Soria, in a mutual decision with manager Ned Yost, took a break from the closer's role when on Memorial Day he suffered his fifth blown save and his third in a week. But he was soon back at it and looking like the old Soria.

Since then he'd picked up 14 saves, and Wednesday night's loss was only his second blown save since his hiatus. When it does happen it comes as sort of a shock, even to his manager.

"It just doesn't really occur to you," Yost said.

Between this year's All-Star, Aaron Crow, and last year's All-Star, Soria, they gave up five hits and five runs in the ninth-inning craziness.

As pitching coach Bob McClure put it: "Just when you think you've seen it all, you ain't seen it all."

Pena returns to team, Pina sent down

ST. PETERSBURG -- Catcher Brayan Pena will rejoin the Royals for the weekend series at Chicago.

Pena will return from paternity leave in Miami where he was on hand for the birth of his child, a boy, on Wednesday.

As anticipated, the Royals optioned catcher Manny Pina to Triple-A Omaha after Thursday's game to make room for Pena.

Pina was called up to Kansas City from Double-A Northwest Arkansas when catcher Matt Treanor suffered a concussion on July 30 at Cleveland. In his first Major League callup, Pina played just four games and went 3-for-14 with two doubles.

At Omaha, Pina will step in for Salvador Perez, who was called up by the Royals on Wednesday.

Giavotella's miscue snaps errorless streak

ST. PETERSBURG -- The game-ending error charged to second baseman Johnny Giavotella on Wednesday night was his first in the Majors and the first for the Royals in seven games.

And the error came on what third baseman Mike Moustakas described as a perfect relay throw, except that it happened to hit the foot of the Rays' diving Sam Fuld, and he jumped up and scored to give the Rays the 8-7 win.

"It looked good coming out of my hand," Giavotella said. "It was on the target, on the line and it hit the guy's foot. Just one of those circumstances you can't really control. That's the way the ball bounces sometimes. Things weren't really going our way and that just kind of confirmed it."

That also was only the Royals' second error in a 13-game span.