Astros lose 5-1 to Royals, set to face Angels in key series
Published 8:01 am Monday, July 27, 2015
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — After losing two of three to the American League-leading Kansas City Royals, the Houston Astros immediately turned their focus to their next series.
The Astros finished their trip with All-Star starter Dallas Keuchel giving up four runs in the first inning in a 5-1 loss to the Royals on Sunday.
Now, Houston returns home to open a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday with first place in the AL West on the line.
“We have to play the whole schedule. These are three of them,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “We have some more in September where we match up in our division. It’ll be a fun series, two good teams. It’s all part of trying to finish the season over the next couple of months rather than the next couple of days.
“We know, obviously, when we play in our division, it matters a lot. Obviously the Angels and us have been battling back and forth. It is three of 62 games left, so we’ve got to keep it in perspective. We want to win as many as we can. Obviously against them would be better so it’s the next series on our schedule so we’ll show up.”
Keuchel (12-5) was tagged for a season-high 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also allowed five runs, matching a season high.
“It’s going to be a fight the rest of the year, just because we’re in the playoff hunt and every team’s looking to put their best foot forward,” Keuchel said. “LA’s played some tremendous ball and I think we have as well. It’ll be a good AL West battle and we’ll see who comes out on top.”
The Royals got off to a fast start, scoring four times in the first inning. Keuchel allowed a total of four first-inning runs in his first 20 starts of the year.
Kansas City opened with three straight singles to load the bases. After consecutive grounders led to a pair of force outs at home, Omar Infante hit a two-run single and Cheslor Cuthbert doubled home two more runs.
Cuthbert has hit in all five of his games in the majors.
“I really didn’t feel like the bases were loaded, just based on some of the contact that was being made,” Keuchel said. “I felt like there were only a few hard hits all day. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. You know as a ground ball pitcher they’re going to find holes. I feel like they were finding every hole in the first inning, but it’s my job to kind of shore up some things and sure enough, I did. It’s one of those days I’d like to have the first inning back, but I battled.”
Lorenzo Cain added a two-out drive in the second for his 11th homer. He had two hits after going 3 for 21 in his previous five games.
“I told Dallas on the mound in the seventh, to get us into the seventh the way he did showed a lot of perseverance,” Hinch said. “I think it’s easy when you get singled to death, so to speak, it’s easy to cave. And Dallas didn’t cave. He kept us in the game.”
Houston got its only run in the second. Evan Gattis led off with a triple and scored on Colby Rasmus’ single.
Yordano Ventura (5-7) pitched seven strong innings, allowing one run on six hits.
Astros: INF Jed Lowrie (right thumb ligament tear) is 2 for 7 in three games with Double-A Corpus Christi. “He hasn’t fielded a ground ball yet in rehab, which I’m very frustrated with,” Hinch said. After having Sunday off, Lowrie will play Monday and Tuesday and then be re-evaluated.
Royals: LF Alex Gordon (left groin strain) is throwing and hopes to take swings off the tee this week. “Baby steps,” Gordon said.
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh (11-5, 4.25 ERA), who is 5-2 with a 2.85 ERA in his past seven outings, starts Tuesday against the Angels.
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez (9-5, 3.15 ERA) starts Monday at Cleveland as the Royals open a 10-game trip.