KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Pat Valaika hit a two-run homer with two out in the eighth inning and Greg Holland finished for his 36th save in the Colorado Rockies’ 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.
Valaika snapped an 0-for-12 slide, driving a full-count pitch from Mike Minor (5-6) to left after Gerardo Parra singled.
Holland worked a perfect ninth. He allowed Eric Hosmer’s game-ending, three run homer in the ninth inning Wednesday night and was 0-4 with three blown saves in his previous six appearances.
Adam Ottavino (2-3) struck out two in a perfect seventh.
The Rockies snapped a four-game losing streak with just their fifth victory in 17 games.
Rookie Jake Junis limited the Rockies to one run and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings. He matched his career high with seven strikeouts and walked one. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in three August starts, walking one and striking out 16 in 19 1-3 innings.
Whit Merrifield and Brandon Moss led off the Royals’ first and second innings with home runs. It was Merrifield’s third career leadoff home run, all this season, and his eighth hit in 15 at-bats. Moss hit his 17th home run, 14 of them with the bases empty.
Rockies starter German Marquez allowed two runs on eight hits in six innings.
Raimel Tapia singled in Parra in the sixth for Colorado’s first run.
Royals reliever Peter Moylan got three outs on seven pitches. He got DJ LaMahieu to roll into a double play to end the seventh, and retired the Nolan Arenado, who singled in his first two at-bats, on a comebacker to start the eighth.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (left knee inflammation) is scheduled to throw another simulated game this weekend in Atlanta. Manager Bud Black said if “he comes out of that fine” Anderson would go out on a rehab assignment. “He could conceivably start a game” in September, Black said.
Royals: 3B Mike Moustakas has a sore knee and not in the lineup, but flied out as pinch hitter to end the game. Manager Ned Yost said Moustakas heard his knee pop on his final at-bat. “It’s not anything we’re concerned about,” Yost said. “We’re going to just give him a day off. We might DH him a day or two, depending on how he feels tomorrow.”
Rockies: RHP Chad Betis will make his third start after battling testicular cancer in the series opener at Atlanta on Friday night.
Royals: LHP Jason Vargas, who is 2-4 with a 7.15 ERA in eight starts since July 1, will starts Friday night at Cleveland. He was 12-3 with an American League-leading 2.22 ERA at the end of June.