HOUSTON -- Mike Moustakas was a bit daunted when he came to the plate in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and his team down by one. The numbers were looming right there on the scoreboard: 0 for 18 and a batting average under .180
Then the 24-year-old heard his Kansas City Royals teammates shouting words of encouragement, and he calmed down and smacked an RBI single to right field to tie the game.
George Kottaras followed with a bases-loaded walk to drive in the go-ahead run in a four-run eighth inning, and the Royals rallied for a 7-3 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night to end a four-game skid.
"One hit is not going to ... completely turn anything around, but it's a big hit in a big situation and it gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow," he said. "Everybody had confidence in me."
The Royals trailed 3-0 and couldn't get much going offensively until the seventh when they cut the lead to one on RBI singles by Alcides Escobar and David Lough.
Eric Hosmer chased Wesley Wright in the eighth when he singled to load the bases. He was replaced by Jose Cisnero, who gave up the one-out RBI single by Moustakas. Cisnero then walked Kottaras on four pitches to put the Royals on top.
"I just think we had some great at-bats. I was really happy for [Moustakas] to get the big base hit to tie the ballgame because he's been struggling a little bit," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Those are little things that can get you going."
They added two more runs when Escobar grounded into a force out to score Hosmer before an error by Marwin Gonzalez allowed Moustakas to go home.
Houston's Jimmy Paredes tied a career high with three hits, including a three-run homer in the fourth inning.
Paul Clemens (1-2) took the loss after allowing three hits and two runs while getting only one out before Wright replaced him. Bruce Chen (3-0) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win.
The Royals added a run in the ninth when Elliot Johnson scored on a wild pitch by Cisnero.
Astros' starter Bud Norris allowed five hits -- all singles -- in six inning scoreless innings. He came out for the seventh inning, but was removed before facing a batter with tightness in his back.
"He threw the ball well," Yost said. "It showed you how well he threw the ball; as soon as he got out of there we started our offensive outburst."
It was the second straight game Norris had left early because of back problems. He had his start pushed back two days as a precaution after he left his previous outing with lower back spasms.
"We knew going into the game he had the issue the last game, because of that, we were only going to push him so far," manager Bo Porter said. "After that long inning, it kind of tightened up on him, and he went down and got stretched out. I think we made the right decision getting him out of the game.
The Royals didn't get a runner past second base until the seventh inning. Norris was replaced by Travis Blackley who allowed back-to-back singles by Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain. Moustakas grounded into a force out which left runners at first and third base.
Paul Clemens took over with two outs, and Escobar greeted him with a pinch-hit, run-scoring single to cut the lead to 3-1.
A sharply hit single by Lough, which Escobar had to leap to avoid, skidded into right field and sent another run home to make it 3-2.
Kansas City starter Wade Davis yielded eight hits and three runs in five-plus innings.
J.D. Martinez hit a one-out single in the fourth inning before Carlos Pena's two-out single. Paredes then launched his first homer of the season into the seats in right field to give Houston a 3-0 lead. Matt Dominguez singled and Gonzalez drew a walk, but Davis escaped the inning when Robbie Grossman grounded out.
The Royals were foiled by their baserunning in two straight innings. Johnson singled with two outs in the third inning, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. In the next inning, Alex Gordon led off with a single, but was later caught stealing.
Paredes walked to start Houston's sixth before a single by Dominguez chased Davis. He was replaced by J.C. Gutierrez and Kottaras, the catcher, picked off Paredes when he strayed too far from second base. Gutierrez allowed a single with two outs to Grossman, but worked out of the jam when he retired Jose Altuve.
All of Kansas City's 13 hits were singles. ... The series wraps up on Wednesday when Kansas City's James Shields opposes Jordan Lyles. ... Houston Texans' first-round draft pick receiver DeAndre Hopkins threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Tuesday night. ... Royals C Salvador Perez was out of the lineup a night after bruising his right hip crashing into railing chasing a foul ball. An MRI revealed no damage and he hopes to play on Wednesday. ... Former Astros star Larry Dierker was named special assistant to the president on Tuesday. Dierker, who made his debut for the Astros in 1964, will work as an ambassador for the team, handling speaking engagements and other fan events. ... The Astros, whose Triple-A affiliate is in Oklahoma City, announced plans to raise money through their foundation to help victims of Monday's devastating tornado in Oklahoma. They will hold a silent auction of game-worn jerseys and sell grab bags containing autographed baseballs. All of the proceeds will go to the American Red Cross relief efforts. "We have close ties to that community and many friends there," Houston president Reid Ryan said. "Those are the folks that support us in Oklahoma City, so we're eager to do our part to help them out in a time of need."