EditorsNote: adds new fifth graf with winning pitcher and save
Rosell Herrera followed a marvelous defensive play in the bottom of the eighth inning with a run-scoring triple in the top of the ninth as the visiting Kansas City Royals snapped a nine-game losing skid with a 1-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday at Minute Maid Park.
Herrera scored Adalberto Mondesi with his drive to center field off Astros right-hander Ken Giles (0-2), who surrendered a leadoff single to Mondesi to open the ninth.
Herrera began the eighth by snatching a home run from Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, timing his jump in right field to make the catch at the wall. Bregman went 0-for-4 as his streak of reaching base safely was snapped at 31 games.
The Royals were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position prior to the Herrera triple. The Astros finished 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine baserunners.
Justin Grimm (1-2) threw a scoreless eighth inning, and rookie Tim Hill tossed a perfect ninth for his first career save.
While the Astros didn’t have plentiful opportunities, they squandered what was available.
The first two batters reached in the bottom of the second against Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, with Yuli Gurriel drawing a walk after Carlos Correa delivered a leadoff double. Evan Gattis followed by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play, setting an ominous tone for the Astros.
Duffy surrendered a single and two walks in his final inning, the sixth, but he induced an inning-ending 5-3 double play from Gurriel to wiggle off the hook.
Duffy posted clean frames in the first, fourth and fifth and allowed just two hits over six innings. And while he issued four walks, Duffy also produced seven strikeouts to keep the Astros under control.
The Astros loaded the bases with one out again in the seventh, this time against Royals reliever Kevin McCarthy. Yet despite after turning the lineup over, the result was the same, as George Springer grounded into a 4-6-3 double play that ended that threat and kept the game scoreless.
Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel was equally elusive, working around multiple baserunners in the second, fourth and sixth innings. What proved beneficially to his scoreless outing was the timing of his troubles; the Royals mounted each of those threats with two outs in the inning.
Keuchel closed the second and fifth with strikeouts. With Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar in scoring position with two outs in the sixth inning, he induced Paulo Orlando to line out to Bregman. Keuchel surrendered six hits and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings.
—Field Level Media