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Kansas City at Houston

Scoreboard
Kansas City (31-36) «000011000240
Houston (28-41)000001000181

Royals 2, Astros 1

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- The Kansas City Royals figure their offense will come around sooner or later. Until then, they're happy to rely on a bullpen that keeps helping them eke out close wins.

Bruce Chen pitched into the sixth inning on three days' rest and the Royals used four relievers to close out a 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.

Alex Gordon tripled and scored for Kansas City, which took two of three from the Astros and has won seven of nine overall. Thirteen of Kansas City's last 14 games have been decided by two or fewer runs, including six one-run games.

Manager Ned Yost smiled when asked what all these close games are doing to him.

"I'm fine. Piece of cake. We had them all the way," he said.

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Chen (6-6) struck out six in 5 2/3 innings and was charged with one run and five hits. Pitching on three days' rest for the sixth time in his career, Chen bounced back from his last outing when he yielded six runs and seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings against St. Louis, but still received a no-decision in the Royals' 10-7 loss.

Houston put runners on the corners with one out in the ninth, but Jonathan Broxton struck out Brian Bixler and retired Jordan Schafer to earn his 18th save in 21 chances.

"They've been doing it all year and once again they came up big today," Gordon said of the bullpen. "A 2-1 win, it feels like we've been doing that all year. I swear one of these days our offense is going to get rolling and we're going to start giving the bullpen a rest. Hopefully it will come soon."

Yost was impressed with Broxton's poise in the ninth.

"The thing about him is he doesn't panic," Yost said. "He stays calm and continues to make pitches."

Kansas City's pitchers have been particularly good late in games, posting a major league-best 1.31 ERA in the ninth inning or later. That performance has helped make up for an offense that has scored the second-fewest runs in the American League.

"We'll start putting some big numbers up, but these wins are important, too," third baseman Mike Moustakas said. "These 2-1 wins, these nail-biters give us a lot of momentum going home."

Houston starter Jordan Lyles (1-4) gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings. He has bounced around between the Astros and Triple-A Oklahoma City this season.

"I've been looking for an outing where I can just turn that corner," Lyles said. "Hopefully, this was it and that's what I'm striving for. It is big because I know I can pitch up here and get outs."

The Astros had eight hits, compared to just four for Kansas City, but they went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position.

"It's the key situations where we're just not able to find the holes," Houston manager Brad Mills said. "There's a lot of things we can point to like guys trying too hard, putting a little too much pressure on themselves. When you start to struggle in those situations, it starts to mount."

The Royals grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Moustakas hit a leadoff double, moved up on Alcides Escobar's grounder and scored on Brayan Pena's infield out.

Gordon tripled with one out in the sixth and scored when Yuniesky Betancourt reached on an error by shortstop Jed Lowrie. Billy Butler then bounced into a double play to end the inning.

Houston got on the board in the bottom half, but lost out on a chance for a bigger rally.

Schafer and Carlos Lee opened the inning with consecutive walks, and Schafer moved to third when J.D. Martinez grounded into a double play. Lowrie drove in Schafer with an infield hit and Chris Johnson chased Chen with a single to left, but Kelvin Herrera struck out Chris Snyder to end the inning.

The Astros also had a chance to take the lead in the eighth. Lee hit a one-out single into right field, barely beating Jeff Francoeur's throw to first. Martinez then walked before Greg Holland struck out Lowrie and Johnson.

Chen got into a jam in the fourth when Martinez doubled with one out and Lowrie was hit by a pitch. But he struck out Johnson and Snyder to end the threat.

Lyles got off to a great start, retiring 12 of his first 13 batters, including the first six.

Notes

  • The Royals recalled INF Irving Falu from Triple-A Omaha and optioned reliever Louis Coleman to their top farm club.
  • Houston pitcher Bud Norris, on the DL with a sprained knee, threw a light side session and is expected to start for Triple-A Oklahoma on Saturday.
  • Mills said OF Fernando Martinez, on the DL for concussion-like symptoms, could begin a rehabilitation assignment in the next couple of days.
  • Houston CF Justin Maxwell left with a sprained left ankle.
  • Both teams are off on Thursday before Houston hosts the Indians and Kansas City plays the Cardinals.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Kansas City

B. Chen
IP 5.2
H 5
ER 1
BB 2
K 6
Houston

J. Lyles
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 2
BB 0
K 4
 
Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alex Gordon, LF4110011 .258
Yuniesky Betancourt, 2B4011000 .257
Billy Butler, 1B3000011 .299
    Kelvin Herrera, P0000000 .000
    Humberto Quintero, C1000011 .230
Jeff Francoeur, RF4000001 .270
Mike Moustakas, 3B3110000 .274
Alcides Escobar, SS3000011 .292
Brayan Pena, C3011000 .250
    Jose Mijares, P0000000 .000
    Greg Holland, P0000000 .000
    Jonathan Broxton, P0000000 .000
Jarrod Dyson, CF3000011 .253
Bruce Chen, P2000021 .200
    Eric Hosmer, 1B1000000 .217
Totals3124207  
Batting
2B - Mike Moustakas (16, Lyles)
3B - Alex Gordon (1, Lyles)
RBI - Yuniesky Betancourt (16), Brayan Pena (13)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
DP - Escobar-Betancourt-Butler
PB - Brayan Pena (3)
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Bruce Chen (W,6-6) 5.2511260 4.81
Kelvin Herrera (H,10) 1.1000040 3.11
Jose Mijares (H,9) 0.1000010 2.03
Greg Holland (H,6) 0.2100120 3.75
Jonathan Broxton (S,18) 1200010 1.57
HBP - Snyder (by Bruce Chen), Lowrie (by Bruce Chen)
Pitches-Strikes - Bruce Chen 94-59, Kelvin Herrera 18-13, Jose Mijares 3-3, Greg Holland 21-11, Jonathan Broxton 14-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bruce Chen 3-7, Jonathan Broxton 1-1
Batters Faced - Bruce Chen 25, Kelvin Herrera 4, Jose Mijares 1, Greg Holland 4, Jonathan Broxton 5
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Altuve, 2B5010010 .313
Brian Bixler, RF5010022 .297
Justin Maxwell, CF2000011 .233
    Jordan Schafer, CF2100112 .239
Carlos Lee, 1B3010101 .301
    J.A. Happ, PR0000000 .083
    Fernando Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
J.D. Martinez, LF3020101 .233
Jed Lowrie, SS3011013 .269
Chris Johnson, 3B4010035 .269
Chris Snyder, C3010024 .200
    David Carpenter, PR0000000 .500
Jordan Lyles, P2000022 .200
   a- Brian Bogusevic, PH1000010 .230
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
    Matt Downs, 1B1000001 .165
Totals34181314  
a-struck out for Lyles in the 7th
Batting
2B - Brian Bixler (4, Chen), J.D. Martinez (8, Chen)
RBI - Jed Lowrie (31)
2-OUT RBI - Jed Lowrie (10)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Altuve-Lowrie-Lee
E - Jed Lowrie (7, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jordan Lyles (L,1-4) 7322040 5.04
Wesley Wright 1000010 3.92
Fernando Rodriguez 1100020 6.00
Pitches-Strikes - Jordan Lyles 85-58, Wesley Wright 11-7, Fernando Rodriguez 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jordan Lyles 11-6, Wesley Wright 1-1
Batters Faced - Jordan Lyles 24, Wesley Wright 3, Fernando Rodriguez 4
Game Information
Attendance - 30687
Game Time - 2:41
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Dan Bellino, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Bob Davidson, Third Base - Mike Muchlinski