Vargas tosses six quality innings as Royals crack win column in 5-1 triumph over Houston

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HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 07: Salvador Perez #13 of the Kansas City Royals receives congratulations Paulo Orlando #16 after hitting a home run in the second inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 7, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

HOUSTON (AP) — Jason Vargas got his first win in nearly two years and the Kansas City Royals beat the Houston Astros 5-1 on Friday night.

Kansas City got its first victory of the season after being swept at Minnesota in its first three games.

Vargas (1-0) returned from Tommy John surgery last September and got his first victory Friday since June 8, 2015. He held Houston to a run and six hits and struck out six over six innings.

The Royals entered 1 for 14 on the season with runners in scoring position then went 3 for 15 Friday, stranding 10 runners. Kansas City finally broke out when a two-run double by Alex Gordon in the eighth inning put the Royals up by four.

Salvador Perez had a solo homer in the second inning, turning on Mike Fiers’ 89 mph fastball for a lined shot onto the train tracks behind the left field foul pole.

Kansas City went up 2-0 in the sixth after a catcher’s interference call with the bases loaded scored Brandon Moss. Fiers had Paulo Orlando down 0-2 when Orlando’s bat tipped Evan Gattis’ mitt on a foul ball that allowed him to advance to first and score the run.

Fiers (0-1) allowed two runs, one earned, five hits and three walks while striking out three in six innings.

The Astros finally began to crack Vargas in the seventh when Carlos Correa led off with a single and Carlos Beltran brought him home with a double to deep right-center. After Beltran’s hit, however, the Royals went to the bullpen and escaped the inning with the lead intact.

Kansas City pitchers allowed 23 walks in their first three games but slowed that trend against the free-swinging Astros, walking just three batters Friday.


Astros: RHP Collin McHugh exited his rehab start in Triple-A Fresno after one inning when he experienced elbow and bicep tightness. McHugh returned to Houston on Friday to visit with team doctors and get an MRI. The Astros were hoping McHugh would need only one rehab start before joining the rotation after he started the season on the 10-day DL dealing with what he’s calling “dead arm.”


Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (0-0) makes his second start of the season on Saturday. Duffy got a no decision in a 7-1 loss at Minnesota after allowing one run, three hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in six innings.

Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (1-0) threw seven scoreless innings in his first start, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out four against Seattle.