The Kansas City Royals open the second half of the season on a losing note as they lose an 8-7 heartbreaker to the Tampa Bay Rays Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals got off to an early 1-0 lead in the 1st inning, then jumped out to a 6-2 lead after a 5 run 3rd inning. But the Rays came storming back with 2 runs in each of the 4th, 7th, and 8th innings to take an 8-7 lead they would hold for the win.

Evan Longoria’s 8th inning 2 run homer was the game winner. Pat Burrell also hit a 2 run blast for the Rays. Mike Jacobs smacked a 3 run homer for the Royals.

Neither of the starting pitchers – Brian Bannister for the Royals and James Shields for Tampa Bay – was involved in the decision. Bannister pitched 5 innings, allowing 4 runs, 2 of them earned, while striking out 3 and walking 4.

Joe Nelson (3-0) earned the win out of the bullpen. Former Royal J.P. Howell picked up his 7th save. Juan Cruz (3-3) took the loss.

The Royals are at home to the Rays Saturday night in the second game of their three-game weekend set. Zack Greinke (10-5) goes to the mound for the Royals Royalsagainst the Rays’ Scott Kazmir (4-5).