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Houston at Kansas City

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Houston (22-42)000000000051
Kansas City (28-32) «00000002x261

Royals blank Houston for fifth consecutive victory

CBSSports.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Luis Mendoza finally figured out what he needs to do to succeed at home.

Mendoza pitched four-hit ball in matching zeros with Lucas Harrell for seven innings Sunday before Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer each had run-scoring singles off reliever Hector Ambriz in the eighth to lead the Kansas City Royals to a 2-0 win over the Houston Astros for their fifth consecutive victory.

Mendoza was winless with an 8.05 ERA in his first four home starts this season but was at ease on the mound Sunday.

"Mendy threw a tremendous game," Hosmer said. "He really had his sinker working and was pounding strikes and playing great defense behind him. Moose [Mike Moustakas] made a lot of great plays behind him."

The Royals' bullpen has not allowed a run in 17 2/3 innings in the past six games. Royals manager Ned Yost had no doubt Kansas City had the upper hand if the outcome would be determined by the relievers.

"Mendy was throwing great and still was at 90 pitches, but was fixing to come around for the fourth time to the top of that order," Yost said. "And I'm sitting there thinking I've got [Aaron] Crow, [Greg] Holland, [Kelvin] Herrera, [Tim] Collins, Hoch [Luke Hochevar] and [J.C.] Gutierrez, who threw two easy innings last night, plus Bruce Chen. I'm fully stocked. It doesn't matter how long this game goes, I've got enough pitching to wait it out."

Crow (2-1) worked a scoreless eighth to earn a victory that gave the Royals their longest winning streak since taking seven in a row form Sept. 10-17, 2011.

With one out in the eighth, Chris Getz singled and stole second off reliever Amrbiz (1-3). Gordon, who was 1 for 18 on this homestand, singled to center for the first run. Gordon moved to third on center fielder Trevor Crowe's errant throw home and scored on Hosmer's single.

Holland pitched a spotless ninth for his 12th save in 14 opportunities.

Harrell, who has won only once since April 29, was held the Royals to two singles in seven scoreless innings.

"He was outstanding," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Even early on when he walked a couple of guys he made good pitches to get out of innings. He did a tremendous job going seven innings against a pretty good-hitting lineup."

The Astros got only one runner past first base in the first six innings. Ronny Cedeno doubled to start the third and advanced to third base on a groundout, but was stranded there.

Mendoza, who entered 0-2 with an 8.05 ERA in four home starts, retired 12 in a row after Cedeno's double.

Harrell, who had won only one of his previous seven starts, retired 13 in a row from the second inning until Perez's single in the sixth. But he was quickly erased when Billy Butler grounded into a double play.

Perez also singled in the first, when the Royals loaded the bases with two outs on walks to Butler and Moustakas walked in the first to load the bases with two outs. Harrell got out of the jam by retiring David Lough with a fielder's choice grounder.

Harrell allowed only one runner -- Jeff Francoeur, who walked to leadoff the second -- after the first inning. Harrell threw 51 pitches -- only 26 strikes -- in the first two innings, but needed only 48 pitches for the next five innings.

"I was more aggressive," Harrell said after the first two innings. "I started pounding the zone and using my sinker more to get ahead. And then I threw some really good curveballs."

The Astros opened the seventh with singles from Carlos Pena and J.D. Martinez, but failed to score.

Notes

  • Royals SS Alcides Escobar, who is mired in a .191 slump with a .221 slugging percentage in his past 32 games, was given Sunday off after playing in the first 59 games.
  • Astros OF Brandon Barnes, who left the game Saturday with left hamstring tightness, did not play Sunday.
  • It was Kansas State day at Kauffman Stadium with Wildcats' shooting guard Will Spradling and linebacker Tre Walker throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
  • The Royals host AL Central-leading Detroit for a three-game series with RHPs Doug Fister and Jeremy Guthrie the probable starters for Monday.
 
Copyright 2015 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

L. Mendoza
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 1
K 3
Houston

L. Harrell
IP 7.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 3
K 1
 

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Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Altuve, 2B4010001 .296
Jason Castro, DH4000011 .266
Carlos Corporan, C4010003 .329
Carlos Pena, 1B3010101 .236
J.D. Martinez, RF4010011 .263
Chris Carter, LF3000112 .220
Trevor Crowe, CF3000013 .212
Matt Dominguez, 3B3000003 .237
Ronny Cedeno, SS3010010 .261
Totals3105025  
Batting
2B - Ronny Cedeno (5, Mendoza)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Cedeno-Altuve-Pena
E - Trevor Crowe (1, Throwing)
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Lucas Harrell 7200310 4.52
Hector Ambriz (L,1-3) 0.2422000 4.94
Travis Blackley 0.1000000 4.57
Pitches-Strikes - Lucas Harrell 99-59, Hector Ambriz 16-10, Travis Blackley 5-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Lucas Harrell 11-8, Travis Blackley 1-0
Batters Faced - Lucas Harrell 25, Hector Ambriz 6, Travis Blackley 1
Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alex Gordon, LF4111001 .309
Eric Hosmer, 1B4011010 .276
Salvador Perez, C4030000 .320
Billy Butler, DH3000103 .272
Mike Moustakas, 3B3000102 .177
David Lough, CF3000003 .279
Jeff Francoeur, RF2000100 .211
Elliot Johnson, SS3000001 .225
Chris Getz, 2B3110001 .211
Totals2926231  
Batting
RBI - Alex Gordon (32), Eric Hosmer (20)
SB - Chris Getz (4, 2nd base off Ambriz/Corporan)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Johnson, Moustakas-Getz-Hosmer
E - Eric Hosmer (4, Misplayed grounder)
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Luis Mendoza 7400130 4.19
Aaron Crow (W,2-1) 1100010 4.08
Greg Holland (S,12) 1000110 2.05
Pitches-Strikes - Luis Mendoza 88-61, Aaron Crow 13-9, Greg Holland 14-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luis Mendoza 9-9, Aaron Crow 1-1, Greg Holland 1-0
Batters Faced - Luis Mendoza 26, Aaron Crow 4, Greg Holland 3
Game Information
Attendance - 20723
Game Time - 2:28
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Tony Randazzo, First Base - Larry Vanover, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Manny Gonzalez