A.J. Hinch wiped the sweat from his brow after watching his Astros win their 10th straight game on Saturday [url=http://www.officialblackhawksproshop.com/authentic-adidas-brandon-saad-jersey]Brandon Saad Jersey[/url] , joking that he might get tossed early the next time out to avoid the Kansas City heat.
The skipper hasn’t been sweating many outcomes lately.
Houston’s latest solid start came from Dallas Keuchel, who allowed the Royals two unearned runs over six sharp innings. Its latest offense came from Max Stassi and Alex Bregman, who belted three-run homers at spacious Kauffman Stadium. And its latest win was a 10-2 rout as the heat index eclipsed 100 degrees.
”I’m really happy with how consistently the guys are showing up expecting to win, and then going out and doing it,” Hinch said. ”We’re a hard team to beat right now.”
No matter the situation. No matter the conditions.
”Winning streak, no winning streak, it doesn’t matter. We just play our game,” said Bregman, who survived the blazing sun and oppressive heat, which sent Stassi and Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel to the clubhouse with symptoms of dehydration.
Jose Altuve hit a two-run double in the first to send the World Series champions on their way. The Astros have won the first nine games on their 10-game road swing, already making it the best trip in club history with the series finale still to come on Sunday.
Coincidentally, the Astros had an 11-game win streak end in Kansas City last season.
Keuchel (4-8) has begun to emerge from a monthlong funk, allowing two unearned runs and six hits in six innings. The 2015 Cy Young winner had surrendered a combined 17 runs over his last three outings, and had not won since tossing seven scoreless innings against Texas on May 13.
Meanwhile, the Royals have lost five straight and are 2-12 since the calendar flipped to June.
”We’ve been around this clubhouse for a while to the point that we’ve had our ups [url=http://www.officialblackhawksproshop.com/authentic-adidas-brent-seabrook-jersey]Brent Seabrook Jersey Kids[/url] , we’ve had our downs,” Royals pitcher Danny Duffy said. ”We know what we need to do to come out of them, it’s just about doing exactly that. It’s not ideal where we’re at right now. It’s pretty much the opposite of what we drew up coming into the year. We got to come out of this stretch ourselves.”
Duffy (3-7) had been pitching well of late, going seven shutout innings his last time out. But the Royals left-hander allowed seven runs on seven hits and three walks in just six innings, becoming the most recent starting pitcher to have a rough time with the Astros’ potent lineup.
”We’ve played some good baseball. Obviously the teams we’ve been playing have played better than we have,” he said.
Duffy was in trouble right from the start. George Springer opened the game with a walk, Bregman added a single and Altuve ripped a double to give the Astros a 2-0 lead.
The Astros tacked on two more runs in the fifth, getting some help from third baseman Mike Moustakas, who flubbed an easy grounder that led to an unearned run. And after Kansas City matched the tally in the bottom half, the Astros’ big bats put the game out of reach.
Stassi began by swatting Duffy’s 1-0 pitch to left field for a 7-2 lead, and Bregman added his homer in the ninth inning to extend his career-best on-base streak to 27 consecutive games.
The only consolation for the Royals was that they weren’t grand slams. They pitching staff had served up one of them each of the past two games, including Evan Gattis‘ in the series opener.
”This is a tough club,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”You make a mistake and they make you pay.”
STATS AND STREAKS
Royals C Drew Butera snapped a 0-for-16 skid with a single in the third inning. LF Alex Gordon ended a 0-for-13 slump with a single in the sixth. … Houston is now a season-high 22 games over .500.
SO LONG, SOLER
Royals OF Jorge Soler will miss at least six weeks after breaking a bone in his left foot during the series opener. Soler will head to the DL but with Triple-A Omaha on the West Coast, a corresponding roster move will not be made until Sunday. Soler was hitting .265 with nine homers and 28 RBIs.
Royals: 1B Lucas Duda will begin a rehab assignment with Omaha on Sunday [url=http://www.officialblackhawksproshop.com/authentic-adidas-corey-crawford-jersey]Youth Corey Crawford Jersey[/url] , Yost said. Duda has been out since May 14 with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
The Royals send RHP Brad Keller (1-2, 2.31 ERA) to the mound in the hopes of avoiding a sweep. The Astros counter with RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (8-3, 3.83 ERA) as they try to keep their streak going.
HOUSTON — There were moments during the recently completed road trip when Evan Gattis‘ teammates appeared to relish his run-production exploits more than he did, scenes emblematic of the prevailing fondness for the Houston Astros‘ bearded designated hitter.
Gattis is among the many catalysts for the Astros, who take a 12-game winning streak into Tuesday’s game with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Astros tied the club record set in 1999 and matched in 2004 when Alex Bregman delivered the game-winning single in the ninth inning in a 5-4 victory.
Before Bregman’s hit, Gattis was named American League Player of the Week, earning the honor for the first time in his six-season career.
Gattis hit .417 (10-for-24) with four homers and 15 RBIs for the week, the latter total representing seven more than any other player in the league.
Gattis has been a house aflame this month, leading the majors with 23 RBIs. That total leaves him six shy of the club record of 29 set by Jimmy Wynn in 1967 and matched by Jose Cruz in 1984.
On May 19, Gattis was mired in an extended season-opening slump and was batting .209. He recorded three multi-hit games over his next five starts and has wielded a hot bat ever since.
“I’m thrilled for Gatty because to know him is to know how much he carries the burden of being the DH most nights,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “And he’s very emotional about it. He wants to contribute; he wants to do well. Had a rough start to the season and going through a few swing changes and a lot of work behinds the scenes and then he busts out and literally carries us for the better part of the road trip.
“For him to be rewarded with that recognition nationally is awesome. For the reaction inside with his teammates and coaches, everybody feels pretty good about him.”
Right-hander Justin Verlander (9-2, 1.61 ERA) will start for the Astros (49-25) on Tuesday. He leads the AL in ERA, WHIP (0.76), opponent batting average (.160) and OPS (.493) while ranking second in innings (100 1/3) and fourth in strikeouts (120).
He is 8-3 with a 3.29 ERA over 16 career starts against the Rays [url=http://www.officialducks.com/authentic-adidas-adam-henrique-jersey]Adam Henrique Jersey[/url] , failing to record a decision when he allowed two runs on six hits and five walks with six strikeouts over seven innings in a 5-3 win on June 15, 2017, with Detroit.
Left-hander Blake Snell (8-4, 2.58 ERA) gets the nod for the Rays (33-39). He is 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA over three career starts against Houston, failing to log more than five innings in any of those outings. Snell has made two starts at Minute Maid Park, going 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA.
Snell has yielded two or fewer runs in 12 of 15 starts this season, tied with Verlander and Yankees right-hander Luis Severino for the most such starts in the AL. That total includes eight starts surrendering one run or fewer, the second-best mark in the AL behind Verlander (nine).
The Rays’ pitcher usage remains a topic of conversation throughout the majors, with the collapse by Romo only fueling those with dissenting opinions on the strategy of employing multiple bullpen days per week. Six pitchers preceded Romo on Monday, with right-hander Matt Andriese producing the longest outing of 2 2/3 innings in Tampa Bay’s 10th loss in its last 11 road games.
“This is a tough one, no doubt,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We sold out to win a ballgame. We got aggressive with the moves; they got aggressive on their side with the pinch hitting. It all basically worked in our favor until the last inning. Leadoff walk, a couple tough pitches, a couple odd things took place and then Bregman comes up and gets a big hit.”