Not an ideal start
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The game’s first pitch from Yordano Ventura to Jose Altuve went for a strike and drew a huge cheer from the crowd of 40,146. The second was smacked into left field for a single. Then came a walk and a single as the Astros loaded the bases with nary an out. Houston got a pair of run-producing groundouts and grabbed a 2-0 lead. In the bottom half, Ben Zobrist singled with one out for the Royals, and then a light rain came. It was the perfect setting for a Roy Hobbs moment, but Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer failed to hit the ball out of the infield.
Who’ll stop the rain?
Ventura seemed to settle down, getting the first two outs, then Jake Marisnick doubled and Jose Altuve singled to right. Alex Rios fielded Altuve’s single on a hop, but his throw home was too late. Fortunately for the Royals, Kendrys Morales got the run back with a homer to right field. But at the end of the inning, the rain picked up and out came the tarp, which ran over one of the grounds crew. He was OK.
The night is Young’s
After a 49-minute delay, Chris Young came on to pitch. He struck out three in the top half but also walked a batter. In the bottom of the inning, the Royals went down in order against Colin McHugh.
You don’t spell Chris with a K
Young struck out Chris Carter, Jason Castro and Marisnick and looked like the greatest pitcher in baseball history. In the bottom of the inning, Morales hit a 396-foot homer to right and looked like the greatest hitter in baseball history. OK, that’s all hyperbole, but there was reason to hope.
One is better than two
It could have been worse. Altuve singled, but was thrown out by Salvador Perez while trying to steal. George Springer followed with a solo shot to left-center. Instead of two runs, it was just one. That’s the silver lining for the Royals. Alex Gordon had a one-out single in the bottom half and Alex Rios walked. McHugh avoided danger by getting Escobar on a flyball to center and Zobrist grounded out, right into a shift to the right side of the infield.
Two is better than one
The Astros threatened as Luis Valbuena walked and Chris Carter singled with one out. There was much happiness at The K, however, when Jason Castro hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. The Morales home-run trot was silenced in the bottom half as he lined out to right to end a 1-2-3 inning against McHugh.
Kelvin keeps it close
Despite allowing a leadoff single to Marisnick, Kelvin Herrera got a groundout and then two strikeouts and kept it a two-run game. Houston reliever Tony Sipp had little trouble in the bottom of the inning, however, setting the Royals down in order.
Need that timely hit
Colby Rasmus, who has an interesting, um, hair style, crushed the first pitch from Ryan Madson over the right-field wall. Madson then struck out the next three batters he faced. Will Harris entered the game for Houston and got two quick outs. Then Zobrist and Lorenzo Cain singled. Houston manager A.J. Hinch brought in lefty Oliver Perez to face Hosmer and he popped out to in foul territory. And that took all the air out of Kauffman Stadium, and many fans bolted.
Tomorrow’s another day
Luke Hochevar allowed just a two-out single to Springer, but otherwise kept it a three-run game. The Astros brought on Luke Gregerson, who hit Moustakas with a pitch, but that was it. Hey, the sting of loss won’t last long. There’s another game Friday afternoon.