KC Royals can’t hold off Astros, who win 11th in a row
Up against the giants (not the San Francisco kind) of baseball, the KC Royals did not bring their stones and slingshots. Or anything to topple Houston Astros starter Mike Fiers with.
Four games against the Astros will give the KC Royals a good idea of whether there’s even a slim chance of holding the fort and contending for the postseason.
Early returns are not encouraging after a 7-3 loss Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Ned Yost shook up the lineup, dropping Alcides Escobar to number eight and dragging the red-hot Whit Merrifield all the way to the leadoff spot, with Jorge Bonifacio hitting second and Mike Moustakas hitting sixth, right before three sub-.200 hitters (Brandon Moss, Escobar and Alex Gordon).
Merrifield promptly went 0-for-5 to snap his 19-game hitting streak. The KC Royals leadoff spot is probably cursed.
The KC Royals never did manage to grab a lead in this contest, which saw the Astros draw first blood with two runs in the second. Norichika Aoki singled in Brian McCann, who stroked a one-out double, while George Springer followed that up with a single to score Yuli Gurriel.
McCann homered in the fourth, a two-run job to right center to score Marwin Gonzalez as well. The KC Royals cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth after Moss doubled (scoring Eric Hosmer) and Escobar singled via bunt (scoring Moustakas). Moss’ will look like a liner in the box score but rest assured, he looked just as inept with this RBI as he did with his terrible strikeout later in the contest.
While one Jorge (Soler) homered in his first at-bat in Omaha, the other one (Bonifacio) was doing the same at the K. Bonifacio’s big blast in the seventh, his season’s eighth, carried the bullpen in left-center and drew the KC Royals within a run.
Which would be as close as they got. After the teams traded scoreless frames in the eighth, Kelvin Herrera came on in the ninth with an eye toward keeping it a one-run game and 8-9-1 coming up in the order.
That went… poorly… for the KC Royals
Alex Bregman greeted Herrera with a single on the first pitch, then McCann reached on Esky’s error to bring up Gurriel. Herrera’s second-pitch slider didn’t slide quite enough, Gurriel crushed it to left-center and a one-run game became a four-run game.
Gordon doubled in the KC Royals ninth, but Merrifield and Bonifacio struck out to end the contest and hand Houston its 11th win in a row.
The Astros go for their 12th straight win tomorrow night. Jake Junis will toe the rubber for the KC Royals, with David Paulino set to go for the Astros—a battle of pitchers making their season’s second start.