|Kansas City (31-36) «||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||0||2||4||0|
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.
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.
"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."
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.
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|Kansas City Royals|
|Alex Gordon, LF||4||1||1||0||0||1||1||.258|
|Yuniesky Betancourt, 2B||4||0||1||1||0||0||0||.257|
|Billy Butler, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.299|
|Kelvin Herrera, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Humberto Quintero, C||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.230|
|Jeff Francoeur, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.270|
|Mike Moustakas, 3B||3||1||1||0||0||0||0||.274|
|Alcides Escobar, SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.292|
|Brayan Pena, C||3||0||1||1||0||0||0||.250|
|Jose Mijares, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Greg Holland, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jonathan Broxton, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jarrod Dyson, CF||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.253|
|Bruce Chen, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||1||.200|
|Eric Hosmer, 1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.217|
|2B - Mike Moustakas (16, Lyles)|
|3B - Alex Gordon (1, Lyles)|
|RBI - Yuniesky Betancourt (16), Brayan Pena (13)|
|Team LOB - 2|
|DP - Escobar-Betancourt-Butler|
|PB - Brayan Pena (3)|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Bruce Chen (W,6-6)||5.2||5||1||1||2||6||0||4.81|
|Kelvin Herrera (H,10)||1.1||0||0||0||0||4||0||3.11|
|Jose Mijares (H,9)||0.1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.03|
|Greg Holland (H,6)||0.2||1||0||0||1||2||0||3.75|
|Jonathan Broxton (S,18)||1||2||0||0||0||1||0||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|
|Jose Altuve, 2B||5||0||1||0||0||1||0||.313|
|Brian Bixler, RF||5||0||1||0||0||2||2||.297|
|Justin Maxwell, CF||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.233|
|Jordan Schafer, CF||2||1||0||0||1||1||2||.239|
|Carlos Lee, 1B||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.301|
|J.A. Happ, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.083|
|Fernando Rodriguez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|J.D. Martinez, LF||3||0||2||0||1||0||1||.233|
|Jed Lowrie, SS||3||0||1||1||0||1||3||.269|
|Chris Johnson, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||3||5||.269|
|Chris Snyder, C||3||0||1||0||0||2||4||.200|
|David Carpenter, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.500|
|Jordan Lyles, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||2||.200|
|a- Brian Bogusevic, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.230|
|Wesley Wright, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Matt Downs, 1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.165|
|a-struck out for Lyles in the 7th|
|2B - Brian Bixler (4, Chen), J.D. Martinez (8, Chen)|
|RBI - Jed Lowrie (31)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jed Lowrie (10)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|DP - Altuve-Lowrie-Lee|
|E - Jed Lowrie (7, Misplayed grounder)|
|Jordan Lyles (L,1-4)||7||3||2||2||0||4||0||5.04|
|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|
|Attendance - 30687|
|Game Time - 2:41|
|Temperature - 73|
|Umpires - Home - Dan Bellino, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Bob Davidson, Third Base - Mike Muchlinski|