James Shields followed up one of his worst starts as a member of the Kansas City Royals with one of his best, throttling the Houston Astros offense as the Royals swept the series with a 5-1 victory.
The Royals got on the board early against Astros starter Scott Feldman, who entered the game with a 0.44 ERA on the year. Nori Aoki doubled, reaching third as the ball got away from George Springer before scoring on a groundout to give the Royals the first run of the game. Three consecutive singled pushed another run across the plate in the second, giving the Royals a 2-0 lead.
Alcides Escobar kept the runs coming in the fourth. With runners on second and third and two out, Escobar drove a ball into the right center gap, plating both runners to push the Royals to their magic number of four runs. Salvador Perez drove in another run with a double in the fifth, as the Royals narrowly missed another run when Alex Gordon was thrown out trying to score from first.
Those runs would be all the support that Shields needed. After a rough first inning when he stranded runners at the corners, Shields was in command most of the night. Working quickly and efficiently, Shields carved the Astros offense apart, inducing weak contact as he went right through the lineup.
Houston finally put a run on the board in the bottom of the fifth. James Shields walked Chris Carter to lead off the inning. Carter went to third on Matt Dominguez‘s single, but Dominguez was thrown out easily trying to stretch the hit into a double. After gunning out Dominguez, Gordon made another excellent play, this time a diving catch on Alex Presley‘s fly ball. Carter scored on the play, as the Astros cut the lead to 5-1.
That run marked the end of the Astros offense. After getting the final out in the fifth, Shields struck out the next seven batters he faced before running into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the eighth. An infield single and a walk put runners on first and second, but Shields struck out Dexter Fowler and got Springer to fly out to end the threat. Wade Davis pitched the ninth to nail down the 5-1 victory.
James Shields was fantastic, allowing only the one run on four hits and two walks, striking out twelve over his eight innings of work to earn the win.
Aoki and Gordon each had two hits and scored two runs in the victory.