Royals Blank Astros 2-0, Even Series
HOUSTON — Behind some early run support and pitcher Luke Hochevar’s best start of the season, the Kansas City Royals shutout the Houston Astros 2-0 at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night.
First baseman Billy Butler gave Kansas City a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a solo blast to left field, his 13th home run of the season. It would prove to be all the padding they would need, because the pitching staff did the rest.
Hochevar (4-7, 5.65 ERA) tossed a season-high 7 2/3 innings and surrendered five hits, striking out six and walking four. It was also the longest outing by any Royals pitcher this season.
Hochevar’s ERA dipped below 6.00 for the first time this year. He also collected his first career Major League hit with a single in the second inning.
Astros left-handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (6-5, 3.29 ERA) earned the loss, giving up two runs on six hits in 7 innings, fanning three and walking two.
Shortstop Alcides Escobar extended KC’s lead to 2-0 after his RBI single in the third inning scored second baseman Yuniesky Betancourt.
The Royals (30-36, 19-16 away) went 1-5 with runners in scoring position and left six on base.
The Astros (28-40, 19-15 home) went 0-6 with RISP and stranded nine.
Reliever Aaron Crow (2.73 ERA) got the Royals out of the eighth after striking out Astros center fielder Justin Maxwell, and closer Jonathan Broxton (1-1, 1.63 ERA) struck out pinch-hitter Matt Downs to record his 17th save.
The Royals now have 7 shutout victories this season, tying the New York Mets for second most in MLB.
LHP Bruce Chen (5-6, 5.05 ERA) takes the mound for a game-three rubber-match against Astros RHP Jordan Lyles (1-3, 5.50 ERA) on Wednesday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.