On Wednesday, two key components of their roster — third baseman
Mike Moustakas and their power-laden bullpen — delivered.
Moustakas slapped a leadoff home run to right field in the top of
the 11th inning to support a brilliant performance by a quartet of
Royals relievers in a 6-4 victory over the Houston Astros at Minute
Second baseman Omar Infante added a run-scoring fielder's choice off
Astros right-hander Jerome Williams (0-1) to complete the comeback
for Kansas City, which trailed 4-2 entering the seventh.
Moustakas opened the night with just two extra-base hits and a .150
slugging percentage before his second at-bat off the bench shifted
"I hit it pretty good," Moustakas said. "I got underneath it a
little bit, but I knew I hit it pretty good. I was kind of blowing
as it was up in the air hoping it was going out. I knew I got it
pretty good. I didn't know how far it was going to go, but I was
obviously happy it carried out of here."
Royals closer Greg Holland earned his fifth save by blanking the
Astros in the 11th. Kansas City rode five scoreless innings of
relief to victory, as Holland teamed with Aaron Crow, Kelvin Herrera
and left-hander Danny Duffy (1-0) to produce eight strikeouts
against just eight baserunners.
The Royals' bullpen ranked 23rd in the majors in ERA (4.76) and 26th
in walk rate at 13.1 percent before setting the stage for the
"I don't think that they needed a confidence boost; they've been
pretty successful for the last two years," Royals manager Ned Yost
said. "They just needed to get themselves on track. They're not
lacking confidence; it's just early in the year. They were behind in
the count and walking guys, and tonight they came in on the attack
with their great stuff that they have. They did a phenomenal job."
After Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel worked six solid innings,
his bullpen coughed up the two-run lead immediately. Right-hander
Brad Peacock, scheduled to start Sunday in Oakland, allowed two hits
while recording two outs in the seventh before left-hander Kevin
Chapman, summoned to face left-handed-hitting Royals first baseman
Eric Hosmer, issued a five-pitch walk to load the bases.
Royals catcher Salvador Perez followed by slapping the first pitch
from Astros right-hander Matt Albers past diving shortstop Marwin
Gonzalez and into center field, scoring both Lorenzo Cain and
"This was tough to swallow because we felt we had the right guys in
the right situation tonight," Astros manager Bo Porter said of his
bullpen. "We just did not get it done."
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Third baseman Danny Valencia delivered his first home run, a one-out
solo shot to left in the second that staked Kansas City to a 1-0
lead. The blast was the second of the series and third of the season
for the Royals.
Astros right fielder George Springer, promoted Wednesday to provide
the scuffling offense a spark, did exactly that when he reached on a
swinging bunt single in the third inning for his first major league
One batter later, with Springer bouncing on first as a base-stealing
threat, catcher Jason Castro crushed a two-run homer off Royals
right-hander Jeremy Guthrie into the seats in left, giving Houston a
Springer finished 1-for-5 with a run scored, a walk and two
"It's always good to get that first one out of the way," said
Springer, the Astros' third-rated prospect. "I didn't really hit it
all that well, but I will take it. Now I can relax, breathe a little
bit and just have some fun."
Kansas City pulled even in the top of the fourth inning, loading the
bases against Keuchel before Cain delivered a run-scoring groundout
that brought home left fielder Alex Gordon from third.
NOTES: The Astros selected the contract of RF George Springer, their
third-ranked prospect and the organization's 2013 minor league
player of the year. Springer was batting .353 with eight extra-base
hits, nine RBIs and four stolen bases in 13 games with Triple-A
Oklahoma City. He had his first hit in his second at-bat, a swinging
bunt single. ... The Astros optioned OF Robbie Grossman to Triple-A
Oklahoma City to make room for Springer. Grossman had a
.125/.236/.313 line in 14 starts. Houston also designated RHP Lucas
Harrell for assignment after he dropped to 0-3 with a 9.49 ERA on
Tuesday night. ... Royals LHP Bruce Chen was scratched from his
Thursday night start because of back stiffness. RHP James Shields
will replace Chen against the Astros, with Chen tentatively
scheduled to start Sunday in the series finale against the Minnesota
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