KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Road victories have been rare for Tampa Bay. Edwin Jackson and the bullpen made sure the Rays got one last night.
Jackson surpassed his victory total for last season and the Rays snapped a seven-game road losing streak with a 5-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
The Rays, who moved one game in front of the Red Sox in the AL East, won on the road for the first time since June 29, at Pittsburgh.
"It's so nice to get a road victory," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "If we're going to get to the promised land, we've got to win on the road. We've got to do a better job of that. I would say the pitching pretty much got that done for us tonight. Our bullpen was fabulous tonight."
The Rays are 20-26 on the road.
"Finally," reliever J.P. Howell said of his team picking up a win away from home. "We get to kill the road streak, squash that. It started to get a little mental. We started talking about it in the clubhouse. That's something you don't want to do. We realize we're going to have to win home or away. The majority of our games are on the road now, so we better get used to it."
The Rays play 35 of their final 60 games on the road.
Jackson (6-7), who was 5-15 last season, did not yield a hit until Billy Butler homered to center with two outs in the fifth.
John Buck led off the sixth with a homer, the only other hit Jackson allowed.
Jackson allowed two runs in five-plus innings, walking two and striking out two. Jackson and four relievers held the Royals to four hits.
"I was surprised," Jackson said of coming out after 74 pitches. "He's the manager. My job is to do what I'm asked to do. He felt that I needed to come out of the game. Who am I to question? [I'm] not about to be really selfish. It's not always about me, me, me. It's a team game. We won and that's the most important thing."
Carlos Pena's 16th homer with two outs in the ninth gave the Rays a 5-2 lead.
"It gave us a little room to work with," Pena said of his home run. "A little breathing room is huge for our bullpen."
It was Pena's 14th career home run against the Royals.
Troy Percival worked the ninth for his 21st save, but gave up a homer to Ross Gload.