Kansas City Royals blasted by Houston Astros
By Aaron Todd
That is the sound of the Kansas City Royals crashing back into the reality of having to play good baseball against good baseball teams.
After steamrolling their way to a 5-1 West Coast road trip, the Royals, sporting the best record in the American League, strutted into Texas to square off against the surprising (and extremely talented) leaders of the AL West; the Houston Astros.
For game one of this early summer showdown between the American League’s top teams the Royals turned to Joe Blanton, who just seemed to be oozing confidence and swagger after his outstanding performance against Seattle. However, as Blanton discovered tonight, confidence will only get you so far against talent. For as good as Blanton was against Seattle, he was as equally ineffective tonight in Houston. Blanton was tagged for five runs on five hits while walking four in just 2.2 innings of work. He would yield to Brandon Finnegan, last year’s first round draft pick, who proved to at least be a stabilizing force as he went 3.1 innings giving up just one run on one hit ( a Chris Carter Home Run). Luke Hochevar and Jason Frasor (who deftly danced into and then out of trouble) would close out the game with an inning a piece.
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Meanwhile, the Royals bats that proved to be so effective in Seattle and Oakland were silenced by Astros ace Lance McCullers. After the speedy Jarrod Dyson led off the game with a double, the Royals bats immediately went quiet, proving unable to bring home Dyson and unable to muster much of an attack the rest of the night. In going seven strong innings, McCullers surrendered just one run on four hits while striking out six. The lone bright spot for the Royals offense came in the seventh inning when Salvador Perez hit an absolute moonshot over the left field wall.
Final Score: Houston 6 Royals 1.
All in all, this was not a good night for the Kansas City Royals and it certainly not how they hoped to begin this series against the ‘stros. But the good news is that the Royals are still in first place and there is a new game tomorrow.