1Two batters hit, but cooler heads prevail
Houston’s Lance McCullers opened the game by hitting Alcides Escobar in the hand with a pitch. Ben Zobrist followed with a fielder’s choice that forced Escobar at second, and Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer went down quietly. After retiring the first two batters, Yordano Ventura hit Carlos Correa with a pitch that looked unintentional. Colby Rasmus followed with a single, but Ventura fanned Evan Gattis.
2Salvy goes deep
Mike Moustakas drew a one-out walk, and Salvador Perez lined a foul ball into the stands that hit a child. Perez was visibly shaken but regained his focus. The next pitch Perez saw was deposited over the right-field fence. In the bottom of the inning, Carlos Gomez launched a Ventura pitch over the left-field wall for a solo homer. By the way, the Astros said the child was fine.
3Houston goes deep again
McCullers breezed through the inning, getting a ground-out from Escobar, a fly-out from Zobrist and strikeout of Cain. Ventura opened the inning by striking out Jose Altuve and George Springer, but the 21-year-old Correa took a 96-mph fastball in on his hands and hit the ball over the left-field wall. That tied the game.
4Hosmer is a Gold Glover
McCullers struck out Hosmer and then got Kendrys Morales to ground out to third. Moustakas followed with another good plate appearance, as he singled to right. But Perez popped out and ended the inning. In the bottom of the inning with one out, Gomez bunted in front of the plate. Ventura fielded the ball, and his throw to first drifted toward foul ground, but Hosmer made a nice adjustment and got the out. After a walk, Chris Carter flied out.
5Tale of two walks
The Royals wasted a leadoff walk from Alex Gordon. Alex Rios and Escobar struck out, and Zobrist grounded to second. Ventura got two quick outs,and then walked Springer. On a 2-2 pitch to Correa, Ventura thought he had strike three, but it was called a ball. Correa then hit a laser down the right-field line for a double, and Springer scored easily. Rasmus was walked intentionally, but Gattis got under a pitch and flied out to center.
6Perez takes one off mask
McCullers rolled through the Royals’ lineup: Cain struck out, Hosmer flied to left, and Morales grounded softly to shortstop. Kelvin Herrera took over for Ventura in the bottom of the inning and struck out Gomez. The next batter, Luis Valbuena, fouled off a pitch that knocked off Perez’s mask. He looked dazed but stayed in the game, and Valbuena walked. Herrera struck out Carter and Castro.
7Just a bad inning for Royals
There was controversy after Perez walked with one out. Terrance Gore pinch-ran and swiped second. Gordon struck out, and with Rios at the plate, Gore stole third. Or did he? After being called safe, the Astros challenged the call and it was overturned, which stunned fans. In the bottom of the inning, Herrera walked Altuve. Ryan Madson came in and struck out Springer. But then Correra blasted a two-run homer. Rasmus followed with a solo shot to right. Gattis singled and Jake Marisnick ran for him. Gomez’s single moved Marisnick to third, and Gomez took second on the throw. Madson got two outs to limit the damage, and that soon proved to be big.
8We never doubted the Royals
The Royals did what they have done so often. Down by four runs with six outs to go, the Royals had five straight singles by Rios, Escobar, Zobrist, Cain and Hosmer. The first four came against Will Harris. Tony Sipp allowed Hosmer’s single and then got his glove on Morales’ grounder up the middle that slipped past Correra at short. Instead of a double play, the ball went into center and the game was tied. Jarrod Dyson ran for Morales and stole second. Moustakas struck out, and Luke Gregerson came on to pitch. Drew Butera, who was in for Perez, walked and the bases were loaded. Alex Gordon grounded out to second and all the runners moved up a base, including Hosmer who scored the go-ahead run. Wade Davis came on for the Royals and needed just seven pitches to retire the Astros in order.
9Pouring it on
Josh Fields relieved in the ninth and the fun continued for the Royals. Zobrist walked, and one out later, Hosmer hit a 442-foot homer to right. Some Astros fans had seen enough and left. Houston got a leadoff single in the ninth, but the next three went down easily and the Royals had another stunning victory.