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“I just couldn’t get the ball down,” Strahm said.
“He’s still battling his command,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
The Royals hit three home runs, including a go-ahead blast in with two-out in the ninth by Brandon Moss for a short-lived 4-3 lead.
“It’s just a momentum thing to build off of,” Marisnick said. “We got good energy going into this road trip and feeding off this is big.”
Salvador Perez homered for a fourth straight game and Mike Moustakas hit his third homer of the season for the Royals. Perez’s 437-homer is his third longest in the Statcast™ era and the 108.8-mph exit velocity makes it his hardest-hit homer in the Statcast™ era.
Springer homered on Nathan Karns‘ first pitch, a blast to right-center that landed in the Astros’ bullpen. It’s Springer’s third leadoff homer this season and 12th of his career.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Showing some hustle: The Royals went ahead 2-1 in fifth inning as Paulo Orlando scored from third on a sacrifice by Raul Mondesi. With one out and runners at first and third, Mondesi, a gifted bunter, placed a bunt down the first-base line. First baseman Gonzalez fielded the ball and tagged Mondesi going down the line, then immediately flipped the ball to catcher Brian McCann. Orlando made an unbelievable slide to avoid McCann’s tag and just caught home plate for the score.
Trouble on the bases: The Astros had five hits in their first eight at-bats, but had three baserunning outs in that two-inning period. In the first, Carlos Correa was thrown out running from first to third following a McCann sharp single to right field for the third out. In the second, two runners were thrown out at second base. Gattis led off with a single to left. He was thrown out attempting to stretch it into a double. The next batter, Josh Reddick singled. But he was thrown out trying to steal second.
“That wasn’t bad baserunning, those are pretty good plays by them,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “There’s a ball off the wall that he’s [right fielder Orlando] got to make a 200-foot throw on one hop and tag him, and he did it. Reddick stole a base, was safe, momentum carried him through the base. Not bad baserunning just bad results.”
“Our defense behind me was great today,” Karns said. “That really gave me a boost.”
“I think we were kind of unlucky the whole game. Both home runs they hit wouldn’t have been home runs in any other park in baseball.” — Yost
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Gonzalez’s two-run home run was only his fifth career blast among his 40 that was not a solo jack.
Royals left fielder Alex Gordon‘s assist in the second inning, throwing out Gattis at second base, was Gordon’s 75th career outfield assist — that’s the best in the Major Leagues since 2010.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
The Royals challenged a steal attempt by the Astros in the second inning that originally was called safe. Reddick beat the throw from catcher Perez, but Reddick slid past and off the bag as shortstop Alcides Escobar applied the tag. The safe call was overturned.
Royals: Right-hander Ian Kennedy gets the start as the Royals return to Kauffman Stadium for their home opener against the A’s on Monday at 3:15 p.m. CT. Kennedy gave up three runs in five innings to the Twins on Wednesday while walking five.
Astros: Right-hander Charlie Morton will make his second start of the season, and again it’s against the Mariners, in the Astros’ road opener on Monday at 4:10 p.m. CT. Morton got a no-decision in Houston’s 5-3, 13-inning win over Seattle last week at Minute Maid Park, giving up two runs and five hits in six innings.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Texas and covered the Astros on Sunday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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