Offense struggles in Fiers’ solid first start

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One out after Gattis’ passed ball scored Salvador Perez, Gordon smacked a two-out double to the wall in left, turning a 3-1 lead into a 5-1 advantage in what is the biggest Royals’ hit in the young season.

The two starters, Royals left-hander Jason Vargas and Astros right-hander Mike Fiers, were solid through six innings of work each. Vargas allowed one run on six hits, striking out six, while Fiers gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits, striking out three.

Vargas' first K of 2017

“I never saw the rally in Game 4 [of the American League Division Series in 2015] here. I went into the bullpen bathroom when the rally started and we started getting hits. And CY [Chris Young] told me to stay in there for good luck.” — Left-hander Danny Duffy, on the Royals’ famous five-run eighth in an eventual 9-6 win

Perez’s solo home run in the second had an exit velocity of 104.2 mph according to Statcast™, and it had an estimated distance of 409 feet. The hit probability was 86 percent.

Perez smashes a solo homer

Carlos Beltran‘s seventh-inning double to center that scored Carlos Correa not only chased Vargas from the game and cut the deficit to 2-1, it was Beltran’s 1,537th career RBI, tying him with Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio for 49th in MLB history.

Beltran's RBI double

Royals: Duffy makes his second start of season, as the Royals take on the Astros at 6:10 p.m. CT on Saturday. Duffy was strong on Opening Day against the Twins, throwing six innings and giving up one run on three hits. He struck out eight.

Astros: Following an Opening Day performance that was typical of his 2015 Cy Young Award winning campaign, Dallas Keuchel makes his second start of the season on Saturday in a 6:10 p.m. CT start against the Royals. In beating the Mariners on Monday, Keuchel threw seven scoreless innings. The left-hander owns a 3-1 career record against the Royals.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Richard Dean is a contributor to based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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