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Correa's HR propels Astros to 11th straight W

Gattis logs go-ahead single for sweep of Royals, 10-0 road trip
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

KANSAS CITY -- There was star shortstop Carlos Correa igniting an eighth-inning rally with a homer, Tyler White coming off the bench in the eighth and hitting a key double on the first pitch, and a suddenly stingy relief corps slamming the door.

When you're on an incredible run like the Astros, the heroes are numerous and come from every corner of the clubhouse.

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KANSAS CITY -- There was star shortstop Carlos Correa igniting an eighth-inning rally with a homer, Tyler White coming off the bench in the eighth and hitting a key double on the first pitch, and a suddenly stingy relief corps slamming the door.

When you're on an incredible run like the Astros, the heroes are numerous and come from every corner of the clubhouse.

View Full Game Coverage

Correa drove in three runs, including his game-tying leadoff homer in the eighth, and relievers Tony Sipp, Ken Giles and Hector Rondon combined to throw three hitless innings to seal the Astros' 11th consecutive win, 7-4, over the Royals on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.

"The winning streak is great, man," Correa said. "We're on a long road trip and away from our families for 10 days; winning every single game makes it a lot better. Hopefully we can go home and keep grinding and keep playing the way we've been playing."

With the win, the Astros (48-25) completed a 10-0 road trip through Texas, Oakland and Kansas City and improved to a Major League-best 29-11 on the road. The win was only the Astros' third this season (3-21) when trailing after seven innings. They join the Indians (11-0 in 2017), A's and Mariners (both 10-0 in 2002), Braves (10-0 in 1992), Reds (12-0 in 1957) and Yankees (14-0 in 1953) as the only clubs with unbeaten road trips of 10 or more games since 1953.

Video: HOU@KC: Altuve turns athletic DP to help seal win

"This was incredible, just by the way we played and the way we completed games," manager AJ Hinch said. "Obviously, winning every game is incredible. We did it in a lot of different ways, so we want to keep the same intent and same mentality we've been playing with. It's been pretty remarkable. It's hard to put into words. It's been somebody different every night. We've had good pitching, we've played good defense, we've rallied late, we've blown guys out early."

During the streak, the Astros have outscored their opponents, 81-40, and reached double-digit hits nine times, including seven games in a row. They've scored at least six runs in seven consecutive games, matching the third-longest streak in club history.

"Nobody knows what's going to happen, you still have to hit a ball, but I take confidence in our lineup versus anybody," said designated hitter Evan Gattis, who's hitting .386 with six homers and 21 RBIs during the streak.

Video: HOU@KC: Gattis delivers go-ahead single in the 8th

Correa homered to left off reliever Brandon Maurer and Gattis (3-for-4) and Marwin Gonzalez added RBI hits off lefty Tim Hill to give Houston a 6-4 lead. Correa's sacrifice fly in the ninth gave him three RBIs. The Astros were 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

"When we're right, we keep coming at you and make you get your 27 outs," Hinch said. "Even when the game was getting towards the end and we know they have [closer Kelvin Herrera] at the back end, the game was starting to tilt in their favor a little bit, we had no quit in us. Correa hits the big home run and all of a sudden, the at-bats piled up on them."

Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. allowed four runs (two earned) and struck out nine in six innings, sending down 10 of the final 12 batters he faced, including striking out the side in the fifth inning. He said it may have been his "best stuff of the year."

Video: HOU@KC: McCullers makes an athletic barehanded play

"Overall, I felt like the team played really hard, I felt like I threw the ball really well and still gave us a chance to win," he said. "I really made one bad pitch [a two-run homer by Hunter Dozier in the third that put the Royals up, 4-2], and he hit it out of the park. That was really the day."

SOUND SMART
The Astros have scored 135 runs in the seventh inning or later, surpassing the Cubs (132) for most in the Major Leagues.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Gonzalez made a 95.9-mph throw from left field, according to Statcast™, to get Mike Moustakas at the plate in the third inning. Moustakas was trying to score from second on a single by Salvador Perez. The Royals challenged the call, but the call was ruled to stand.

Video: HOU@KC: Gonzalez flashes arm with 95.9-mph throw home

"I was just hoping that was an out," Gonzalez said. "I thought they were going to overturn it, but they didn't. I felt good. Any time I can help on defense, it makes you feel good."

HE SAID IT
"What he a day for him. He showed up, took his sweatshirt off, swung at the first pitch, doubled, I pinch-ran for him. What a life." -- Hinch, on White, who doubled in the eighth off the bench

UP NEXT
Right-hander Gerrit Cole will take the mound as the Astros return home to face the Rays at 7:10 p.m. CT on Monday at Minute Maid Park. Cole leads the American League in strikeouts per nine innings (12.49), ranks third in WHIP (0.88), fourth in ERA, second in opponents' batting average (.175) and third in opponents' OPS (.558).

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Carlos Correa, Evan Gattis, Lance McCullers Jr.

Father's Day special for new Astros, KC dads

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

KANSAS CITY -- This Father's Day is especially sentimental for Royals pitcher Justin Grimm, as it's his first as a father.

Grimm and his wife, Gina, welcomed their son, Austin James Grimm, into the world on May 25. With the emotion from such a momentous moment in his life still fresh in his heart, the third Sunday of June elicits a new feeling this year for Grimm.

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KANSAS CITY -- This Father's Day is especially sentimental for Royals pitcher Justin Grimm, as it's his first as a father.

Grimm and his wife, Gina, welcomed their son, Austin James Grimm, into the world on May 25. With the emotion from such a momentous moment in his life still fresh in his heart, the third Sunday of June elicits a new feeling this year for Grimm.

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"Definitely has a new meaning," Grimm said. "Past few days, just being able to go home to my son, it's just been an awesome feeling."

Aside from the present, being a new father has caused Grimm to reflect on his past experiences with fatherhood.

"Just to think about my dad as well, it definitely gives that a new meaning," Grimm said. "It kind of brings to light everything that he went through early on with me and everything, so it's more of an appreciation for him as well as enjoying new time with the little man."

Astros pitcher Brad Peacock is also celebrating his first Father's Day. His wife, Stephanie, gave birth to a son, Colton, on June 24, 2017. Peacock was looking forward to heading home to Houston late Sunday to see his wife and son, who are traveling to Texas from Florida.

"It's been fun so far, just having to take care of him every day," Peacock said. "Just watching him grow, he's started almost walking. He took his first step two nights ago and I got a video of it. It was awesome."

The Royals and Astros wore special light-blue hats designed to promote prostate cancer awareness for Father's Day, as will the other 28 clubs across the Major Leagues. Other blue garments will be worn, as will the symbolic blue ribbon worn by all players and on-field personnel across MLB. All royalty proceeds from the sale of blue gear will go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer.

Astros pitcher Collin McHugh's father, Scott, is battling prostate cancer and recently had hip surgery. This is also Collin's second Father's Day.

"It's been a hard year this year," he said. "He had to have hip surgery not too long ago so he's doing his rehab and recovering from that. We just understand every day, every week, every month is a blessing and we play it by ear and try to live it up as much as we can for as long as we've got."

Father's Day also signals the end of the Prostate Cancer Foundation's "Home Run Challenge," which allowed Major League Baseball fans to make donations and pledge funds for every homer hit by their favorite clubs in June. As of Friday, more than $1.85 million had been raised by this year's efforts, and nearly $50 million had been raised since the program's inception.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Justin Grimm, Collin McHugh, Brad Peacock

Astros put up 10-spot as win streak hits 10

Stassi, Bregman homers help Houston go 9-0 on road trip
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

KANSAS CITY -- The streaking Astros made some history on Saturday afternoon.

Behind a strong outing by lefty Dallas Keuchel and three-run homers by Max Stassi and Alex Bregman, the Astros drubbed the Royals, 10-2, at Kauffman Stadium for their 10th consecutive win, while improving to 9-0 on their season-long 10-game road trip.

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KANSAS CITY -- The streaking Astros made some history on Saturday afternoon.

Behind a strong outing by lefty Dallas Keuchel and three-run homers by Max Stassi and Alex Bregman, the Astros drubbed the Royals, 10-2, at Kauffman Stadium for their 10th consecutive win, while improving to 9-0 on their season-long 10-game road trip.

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It's the first time in team history the Astros (47-25) have won nine games on a road trip that consisted of 10 games. They are a Major League-best 28-11 on the road and will try for a 10-0 road trip and a series sweep on Sunday.

Video: HOU@KC: Stassi crushes a 3-run dinger to left field

"These guys are showing up expecting to win, obviously, and going out and doing it," manager AJ Hinch said. "It's always nice to see us complete series and complete these games with the strength that we are. We're pitching, we're playing defense, we're running the bases pretty well and hitting homers. We're a hard team to beat, but I like the style of play and the intent is incredible right now."

The Astros are averaging 7.4 runs per game during their 10-game streak, hitting 20 homers in that span. They've reached double-digit hits eight times in those 10 games, including six in a row. They've scored at least six runs in six consecutive games.

Video: HOU@KC: Bregman uncorks a 3-run homer to left field

"What we do is we come here and show up and play hard every day, and that's it," said Bregman, who homered in the ninth. "We compete every at-bat, and winning streak, no winning streak, it doesn't matter to anybody in here besides the fact we compete every pitch, play our brand of baseball, and we know that if we do that, we'll have deja vu from what we did last year."

Keuchel (4-8), coming off an outing in which he allowed 13 hits, held the Royals to six hits and no earned runs in six innings for his first win since May 13 against the Rangers. He felt so good with his slider that he threw it 31 times in 101 pitches.

"It was really good," Keuchel said. "I don't usually toot my own horn, but there was a few I could tell the shape out of my hand were back to normal movement. If we can keep that going, it's going to be a totally different ballgame."

Keuchel recorded 12 ground-ball outs and struck out five. He didn't allow a ball to be hit in the air for an out.

"That's the Dallas Keuchel that he expects himself to be and we've become accustomed to," Bregman said. "It's fun when he pitches like that. It keeps all of us involved. We scored 10 runs and we're out of here in less than three hours. You know if anyone on our team pitched that game, it was probably Dallas Keuchel."

Jose Altuve had a two-run double in the first inning off Royals starter Danny Duffy, and Marwin Gonzalez had three hits, including a double that helped the Astros take a 4-0 lead in the fifth. Stassi's three-run homer in the sixth gave the Astros a 7-2 lead. Stassi and first baseman Yuli Gurriel left the game with dehydration on a hot afternoon in Kansas City.

Video: HOU@KC: Stassi is removed from the game after single

"A lot of different guys had good at-bats, and Marwin is swinging the bat very well near the bottom [of the batting order] as well," Hinch said.

Brad Peacock, Will Harris and Chris Devenski combined for three innings of hitless relief, striking out seven.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED

A two-out error by shortstop Carlos Correa in the fifth was followed by three consecutive Royals hits, including an RBI double by Whit Merrifield and an RBI infield hit by Mike Moustakas. Keuchel recovered to strike out Salvador Perez swinging to end the inning. Both runs were unearned because of the error on Correa, who had made two errors in five games on the heels of a 70-game errorless stretch.

"If there's one guy in the league that's been more consistent than him, I'm going to have trouble finding that guy," Keuchel of Correa. "He's right up there with the Gold Glove discussion. We've got a few guys up for that."

SOUND SMART
Altuve is hitting .395 on the road this season and .324 lifetime on the road. The last player with a better lifetime road average than home average was Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn (.334).

Video: HOU@KC: Altuve smacks a 2-run double off the wall

HE SAID IT
"I know he's going to let me have it for a few days." -- Stassi, on veteran Brian McCann, who pinch-ran for him in the ninth inning and scored after Stassi left the game due to cramps. It was the first time since 2014 McCann has been a pinch-runner

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Royals challenged a safe call on Bregman at first base in the seventh inning and it was overturned.

Video: HOU@KC: Escobar retires Bregman after review

UP NEXT
The Astros wrap up their season-long 10-game road trip by sending right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. (8-3, 3.83 ERA) to the mound against the Royals at 1:15 p.m. CT on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. Right-hander Brad Keller (1-2, 2.31) will start for Kansas City.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Dallas Keuchel, Max Stassi

Gurriel flashing Gold Glove caliber defense

Astros first baseman among Majors' best in scoop percentage
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

KANSAS CITY -- Yuli Gurriel has taken to first base so well that Astros manager AJ Hinch said on Saturday that he's played at a "Gold Glove caliber" level. One of Gurriel's biggest improvements has been scooping balls out of the dirt, something he's done with perfection this year.

Gurriel leads the Majors in scoop percentage in having successfully caught all 21 throws that bounced in front of him at first base this year -- prior to Saturday's game against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Hinch said Gurriel's defense has been a very underrated part of his game.

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KANSAS CITY -- Yuli Gurriel has taken to first base so well that Astros manager AJ Hinch said on Saturday that he's played at a "Gold Glove caliber" level. One of Gurriel's biggest improvements has been scooping balls out of the dirt, something he's done with perfection this year.

Gurriel leads the Majors in scoop percentage in having successfully caught all 21 throws that bounced in front of him at first base this year -- prior to Saturday's game against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Hinch said Gurriel's defense has been a very underrated part of his game.

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"He's been very good around the bag," Hinch said. "He's the best in the league at picking balls, at least the most successful, I know that. His athleticism from being on the left side of the diamond his whole life has translated well to first base. He's done a lot of work starting last season and into this year to learn the little nuances of first base and all the responsibility. The progress has been incredible and his performance this year has been the best in the league."

Gurriel was a star third baseman for more than a decade in Cuba before defecting to the U.S. in 2016 and eventually signing with the Astros. With Alex Bregman an up-and-coming star at third base and Carlos Correa the same at shortstop, the Astros moved Gurriel to first base -- a position of need at the time.

Video: HOU@TEX: Gurriel turns an inning-ending DP in the 5th

Hinch said Gurriel works routinely on fielding balls in the dirt, which is something he struggled with at times last year. Also, playing first base for the Astros is a little more challenging considering the amount of shifts the team employs, which means Gurriel sometimes plays well off the bag.

"He's got great hands and that's from being a third baseman and shortstop," Hinch said. "He's saved more than one error."

Eric Hosmer, the former Royals star who's won four of the last five American League Gold Glove Awards at first base, is now in the National League with the Padres, so Gurriel may have a shot at a Gold Glove. Mitch Moreland of the Red Sox is among those considered one of the best defensive first baseman in the AL.

Gattis locked in at DH
Evan Gattis' torrid month at the plate has made it harder for Hinch to give other players some at-bats at designated hitter. Not that Hinch is complaining, but he hasn't been able to use the DH spot to get players like Gurriel, Jose Altuve and George Springer off their feet on occasion.

Video: HOU@KC: Gattis clubs go-ahead grand slam in the 6th Gattis has started 14 consecutive games at DH and 20 of the previous 21 through Saturday. Gattis entered Saturday hitting .303 with 12 homers and 38 RBIs in 28 games since May 12.

"The more productive that Gattis is, the less likely I am to DH the other guys and even give them full days off," Hinch said. "As he's gotten better and more productive, it's been hard to get rest for our other guys. For all the right reasons. It became a challenge, but Gattis stepped up and has a taken the at-bats the way he should."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros

Alvarez homers twice for Hooks

MLB.com @wboor

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Saturday.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Saturday.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Nick Senzel's offensive barrage continued with another multihit performance in Triple-A Louisville's 7-4 loss to Toledo.

The Reds' No. 1 prospect (No. 5 overall) has two or more hits in seven straight games after going 2-for-5 on Saturday.

Not only did Senzel collect a pair of hits, he also hit his fourth homer of the season, a three-run blast in the fifth inning. The 22-year-old has been scorching hot of late, hitting .485 (16-for-33) over the past seven games. Overall, Senzel is slashing .305/.377/.481 through 39 games.

Other top prospect performances from Saturday's action:

• Two of the Giants top prospects helped lead Class A Augusta to a win over Asheville as Heliot Ramos (Giants' No. 3, No. 54 overall) and Jacob Gonzalez (Giants' No. 10) combined for seven hits. Ramos, who has been heating up after a slow start, extended his hitting streak to five games with a 4-for-5 night, while Gonzalez finished 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

• No. 69 overall prospect Stephen Gonsalves (Twins' No. 2) got back on the right track with a scoreless start for Triple-A Rochester. Gonsalves, who gave up nine runs in his last start and had surrendered 17 runs over his past three outings, put the struggles behind him as he cruised through 5 2/3 innings. The left-hander did walk three, but struck out five and yielded just one hit.

Gonsalves notches fifth strikeout

• No. 74 overall prospect Yordan Alvarez (Astros' No. 4) immediately made his presence felt in his return to the Double-A Corpus Christi lineup. In his first game back in the lineup, the 20-year-old hit a pair of homers before the game was called due to rain in the fifth inning. Alvarez hit two-run blasts in both the first and third innings.

• No. 94 overall prospect Peter Lambert (Rockies' No. 3) has given up one earned run in three straight starts after doing so once again for Double-A Hartford. Lambert, who has a 2.40 ERA through 13 starts, walked one, struck out six and surrendered five hits.

Brewers No. 18 prospect Kodi Medeiros has given up one earned run or less in three of his past four starts after his latest gem with Double-A Biloxi. The lefty was stuck with a no-decision as the Shuckers topped Mississippi in 10 innings, but Medeiros certainly did his part with five scoreless frames. The 22-year-old walked four, struck out seven and gave up five hits.

• Brewers No. 24 prospect Carlos Rodriguez's career is off to a fast start in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League. The 17-year-old has multiple hits in eight of the 11 games he's played in, including four in a row after his 3-for-6, three-RBI performance against the Cardinals. Rodriguez has posted back-to-back three-RBI games and is slashing .440/.472/.500.

Indians No. 16 prospect Sam Hentges spun his second straight scoreless start for Class A Advanced Lynchburg. The Hillcats ultimately lost to the Keys, but Hentges did his part over 6 2/3 innings. The lefty threw 58 of his 89 pitches for strikes, walked three, struck out six and gave up four hits.

Pirates No. 13 prospect Oneil Cruz did it all for Class A West Virginia in a win over Delmarva. Cruz matched his season high with four hits, a trio of which went for extra bases. The 19-year-old, who also drove in a trio of runs, collected two triples and a double as he pushed his average to .304 through 62 games.

Rays No. 19 prospect Ronaldo Hernandez put together his second two-homer game of the season as Class A Bowling Green topped Lake County. Hernandez, who has 10 homers after finishing 3-for-4, hit a solo shot in the fourth and then followed that up with a two-run blast in the sixth.

• A pair of Royals' prospects helped lead Class A Lexington to a win over Rome as Seuly Matias (No. 3) and MJ Melendez (No. 4) each went deep. Melendez, who finished 2-for-4, hit his 10th homer of the season in the sixth inning, while Matias, who leads the Minors with 22 homers, went yard for the second day in a row.

Matias goes deep

White Sox No. 30 prospect Jimmy Lambert put together his best start of the season, despite taking a loss for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. Lambert, a fifth-round pick from 2016, needed just 88 pitches (66 strikes) to carve his way through eight innings of one-run ball. The right-hander walked one and gave up five hits, but the bullpen gave up the decisive run to Wilmington in the ninth.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Gattis' slam sends Astros to 9th straight win

Bregman, Correa homers also support Morton's 8th victory
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

KANSAS CITY -- When Astros slugger Evan Gattis stepped to the plate in the sixth inning against Royals starter Jakob Junis on Friday night with the bases loaded, his teammates couldn't help but sit on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what might happen. They were right.

Gattis continued his torrid run by hitting his second career grand slam to send the streaking Astros to their season-high ninth consecutive win, 7-3, at Kauffman Stadium.

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KANSAS CITY -- When Astros slugger Evan Gattis stepped to the plate in the sixth inning against Royals starter Jakob Junis on Friday night with the bases loaded, his teammates couldn't help but sit on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what might happen. They were right.

Gattis continued his torrid run by hitting his second career grand slam to send the streaking Astros to their season-high ninth consecutive win, 7-3, at Kauffman Stadium.

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"Honestly, we all were expecting him to do damage," said third baseman Alex Bregman, who hit a solo homer off Junis in the fourth inning. "I think everybody in the dugout, there was a little bit of a buzz, saying, 'All right, Gatty might hit a grand slam and keep those big RBI games up.' He's killing it."

Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

Gattis clubbed a 2-2 fastball from Junis and launched it a projected 405 feet, according to Statcast™, over the wall in left-center to score Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Josh Reddick and put the Astros ahead, 6-3. Gattis' only other career grand slam came in 2013 while he was with the Braves.

"In that situation, after seeing so many sliders, I was going to give myself a chance at one," said Gattis, who struck out looking the first two at-bats against Junis and later added a double. "I'm glad he threw a first-pitch ball on a fastball. I had a good swing on the slider, and then once it was two strikes, I was trying to guess and playing along with him."

The Astros (46-25) improved to 8-0 on their season-long 10-game road trip with weekend games remaining against the Royals. The Astros are 27-11 on the road and have at least 12 hits in five consecutive games.

"We like winning and we have fun with it," manager AJ Hinch said. "I like that our guys are just methodically going through our day. This is a long road trip and it's a lot more fun to have these long road trips when you're winning."

Gattis has 13 homers and 38 RBIs since May 12, a span of 28 games, to tie George Springer for the club lead in homers (14) and pass Correa for the team lead in RBIs (46). He has five homers and 18 RBIs on the road trip and leads the Majors in road RBIs (37).

Video: HOU@KC: Bregman unloads on a homer to left in the 4th

"Fourteen ribbies in four games is something you dream about," Bregman said. "It's fun to watch. He's an unbelievable teammate, too. You see everybody's reaction in the dugout when he does it. It's awesome."

That was enough offense for Astros starter Charlie Morton (8-1), who bounced back from a pair of shaky outings to hold the Royals to three runs and four hits in six innings while striking out nine. He joins three teammates with at least eight wins -- Lance McCullers Jr. and Gerrit Cole have eight, and Justin Verlander has nine.

"I wasn't really panicking" Morton said. "I wasn't really thinking I was in desperate need of a good outing. There was a couple of games where I didn't throw the ball well and needed to make some adjustments. I think I made some decent adjustments, made some good pitches."

Morton walked four batters, giving him 10 in his last two starts. He walked a career-high six and hit four more in his previous start on Saturday at Texas, but he retired the first seven he faced on Friday. Mike Moustakas hit a two-run double off Morton in the third to open the scoring, and Morton walked in a run in the fifth to give Kansas City a 3-2 lead.

"I thought he grinded really well," Hinch said. "He had a couple of walks in there where it could have unraveled and he continued to stay under control."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Morton was teetering after walking three consecutive batters in the fifth inning, including a free pass to Moustakas that forced home the go-ahead run. Facing Salvador Perez, Morton got him to ground into a 5-4-3 double play that ended the inning and kept the Royals from breaking it open.

Video: HOU@KC: Morton punches out 9, earns 8th win

"It is big because that's the part of the game that can unravel on you a little bit," Hinch said. "We didn't want the big at-bat to come in the top to middle of their order, and we found every time we walked the bottom of their order, here comes [Whit Merrifield], here comes [Moustakas], here comes Perez. Obviously, getting out of that with minimal damage and still within striking distance, a huge play."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Correa hit a mammoth 455-foot blast to left that was 112.8-mph off the bat, according to Statcast™, in the fourth. It was the second-hardest hit of his career, trailing only a 113.5-mph blast on April 6, 2016. It was also his fifth-longest homer. More >

Video: HOU@KC: Correa ties the game with a 455-ft. home run

HE SAID IT
"He's been awesome and his confidence is sky high. His breaking ball is really good and his split he threw to Perez tonight is the swing-and-miss split that he's had." -- Hinch, on lefty reliever Tony Sipp, who struck out two in the eighth

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Astros got a call overturned in the seventh inning. Reddick was initially ruled out at first base on a grounder to third baseman Moustakas, but the replay showed Reddick beat the throw to the bag.

Video: HOU@KC: Reddick reaches first safely after review

UP NEXT
Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel (3-8, 4.45 ERA) will look to snap a personal three-game losing streak when he takes the ball at 1:15 p.m. CT on Saturday against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. After posting a 3.10 ERA in his first nine starts, Keuchel is 0-3 with a 7.33 ERA in his past five starts. Lefty Danny Duffy (3-6, 5.28) will start for Kansas City.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Evan Gattis

Correa, Bregman flash All-Star worthy power

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

KANSAS CITY -- Sure, Evan Gattis' sixth-inning grand slam ruled the day, but Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa got the fun started in the Astros' 7-3 win over the Royals on Friday night with some long ball of their own.

Bregman and Correa both hit solo homers in the fourth inning against Royals starter Jakob Junis, tying the game at 2 to answer a Mike Moustakas two-run double in the third. Gattis hit a grand slam in the sixth to put the Astros ahead, 6-3.

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KANSAS CITY -- Sure, Evan Gattis' sixth-inning grand slam ruled the day, but Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa got the fun started in the Astros' 7-3 win over the Royals on Friday night with some long ball of their own.

Bregman and Correa both hit solo homers in the fourth inning against Royals starter Jakob Junis, tying the game at 2 to answer a Mike Moustakas two-run double in the third. Gattis hit a grand slam in the sixth to put the Astros ahead, 6-3.

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VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

Bregman's ninth jack of the season traveled a projected 368 feet down the left-field line, and Correa hit a mammoth 455-foot blast to left that was 112.8-mph off the bat, according to Statcast™.

"I knew it was a ball down the line and I tried to get inside it," Bregman said. "I caught it right."

Video: HOU@KC: Bregman unloads on a homer to left in the 4th

The homer by Correa was the second-hardest hit of his career, trailing only a 113.5-mph jack on April 6, 2016. It was also his fifth-longest homer. The hit by Bregman extended his on-base streak to 26 consecutive games.

The Astros have hit 18 home runs during their nine-game winning streak.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa

Tucker has big night for Fresno

MLB.com @GoldenSombrero

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Friday.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Friday.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Zack Brown fell one out short of throwing a no-hitter, but still went the distance as he recorded the first complete game and shutout of his career in Double-A Biloxi's 5-0 win over Mississippi.

The Brewers' No. 23 prospect kept the M-Braves off the basepaths for the first seven innings before an error by Biloxi right fielder Trent Grisham to open the eighth inning ended Brown's chance at a perfect game. He rebounded to set down the next three batters in order, and then retired the first two batters in the ninth before allowing a single on a soft fly ball to center field with two outs.

Brown would get the next and final Mississippi batter to ground out to shortstop to seal his one-hit shutout. He struck out eight and matched his season-high mark by throwing 109 pitches (71 strikes) in the outing.

Tabbed by Brewers club officials as a potential breakout candidate heading into 2018, Brown has done just that.

Assigned to Double-A to open the season, even though he made just four Class A Advanced Carolina starts in 2017, Brown -- a 2016 fifth-round pick out of the University of Kentucky -- has been anything but overmatched in the Southern League. In addition to his perfect 6-0 record in 14 starts, the 23-year-old right-hander leads the qualified hurlers in the circuit in both WHIP (1.00) and innings pitched (85 1/3) and ranks third in ERA (tied, 2.53) and strikeouts (84). Opposing hitters, meanwhile, are batting just .204 against him.

Brown has been especially sharp over his last four starts, pitching to a 1.33 ERA with 32 strikeouts and just 13 hits allowed in 27 innings.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Friday

No. 5 overall prospect Nick Senzel (Reds' No. 1) has collected multiple hits in six straight games after finishing 2-for-5 with a double in Triple-A Louisville's 5-2 win over Toledo. The 22-year-old infielder has 14 hits and a .500 average (14-for-28) in that span, during which he's boosted his overall average from .256 to .302.

• No. 14 overall prospect Kyle Tucker (Astros' No. 2) cleared the bases with a double as he recorded three hits for the third time in five games for Triple-A Fresno. The 21-year-old outfielder finished 3-for-5 at the plate, also stealing two bases in the contest. Tucker is quietly putting up big numbers in his first Triple-A campaign, as his latest performance gives him a .288/.359/.484 batting line with nine home runs, 20 doubles, 52 RBIs and 10 steals through 61 games.

Tucker doubles in three

• No. 18 overall prospect Royce Lewis (Twins' No. 1) collected three run-scoring hits as he matched his season high with four RBIs in Class A Cedar Rapids' 14-2 win over Peoria. The 2017 No. 1 overall pick connected on a first-inning solo homer and later added a pair of RBI singles to finish 3-for-5. It was the third multihit performance in four games for Lewis, who's slashing .298/.342/.454 with six homers, 16 doubles and 16 steals through 54 games in his first full season.

Lewis hits a solo blast

• No. 42 overall prospect Adrian Morejon (Padres' No. 6) was a bat-missing machine as he recorded 12 of his 18 outs via the strikeout in a strong outing for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. The dozen strikeouts marked a career high for the Morejon, who ultimately allowed two earned runs on three hits and a walk in the outing. The 19-year-old lefty owns a 3.59 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings this season and has now struck out at least seven batters while completing at least six frames in three straight starts.

A's No. 7 prospect Austin Beck extended his hitting streak to eight games with his second four-hit game of the season for Class A Beloit. He finished 4-for-5 at the plate, tallying a double, three runs scored and two RBIs in Beloit's 9-2 win over Clinton. With one home run in 57 games this season, Beck hasn't yet tapped into the robust raw power that in part made him the No. 6 overall pick in last year's Draft. The good news, however, is that the 19-year-old outfielder is hitting for average (.298/.339/.368), while keeping his strikeouts in check (56 K's in 57 games).

• After being reinstated from the disabled list earlier in the day, Nationals No. 13 prospect Luis Reyes contributed on both sides of the ball to help Double-A Harrisburg blank Richmond, 3-0. The 23-year-old righty impressed on the mound by allowing four hits and four walks with three strikeouts in six scoreless innings, and he also helped his cause at the plate by delivering a solo home run in the fifth inning while also reaching once via a walk. The homer was Reyes' first career hit and came in his eighth pro at-bat.

Orioles No. 29 prospect Ryan McKenna stayed red hot by tallying an extra-base hit in both ends of Class A Advanced Frederick's doubleheader against Down East. He fared particularly well in the nightcap, going 2-for-4 with his eighth home run after hitting a double as part of a 1-for-3 showing in the opener. The 21-year-old's .374 average through 66 games this season is tops in the Carolina League and ranks second in the Minors behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. McKenna also leads the Carolina League in OBP (.466), slugging (.557), hits (95), total bases (141) and runs scored (59).

Yankees No. 9 prospect Dillon Tate scattered four hits and two walks and racked up a season-best 10 strikeouts over 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a no-decision for Double-A Trenton. The 24-year-old righty has permitted more than two earned runs once in his past seven starts, during which he's lowered his season ERA from 5.24 to 3.11. He's compiled 62 strikeouts and 16 walks and held hitters to a paltry .214 average in 66 2/3 innings (12 starts) this season.

Tate's 10th strikeout

Yankees No. 10 prospect Matt Sauer was unhittable over six innings in his season debut for Class A Short Season Staten Island. The 2017 second-rounder faced the minimum in the performance, issuing one walk and striking out three while throwing 49 of his 75 pitches for strikes. It was the seventh career start for 19-year-old righty after he posted a 5.40 ERA over 11 2/3 innings (six starts) last year in his pro debut.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Guduan goes on pat list; Astros recall White

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

KANSAS CITY -- The Astros are carrying only seven relievers after left-hander Reymin Guduan was placed on the paternity list prior to Friday's game against the Royals and infielder Tyler White was recalled from Triple-A Fresno.

Astros manager AJ Hinch prefers to carry eight relief pitchers, but with the bullpen well-rested and White swinging a hot bat in Fresno, Hinch decided to replace a pitcher with a position player. This will be White's first taste of the big leagues this season.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Astros are carrying only seven relievers after left-hander Reymin Guduan was placed on the paternity list prior to Friday's game against the Royals and infielder Tyler White was recalled from Triple-A Fresno.

Astros manager AJ Hinch prefers to carry eight relief pitchers, but with the bullpen well-rested and White swinging a hot bat in Fresno, Hinch decided to replace a pitcher with a position player. This will be White's first taste of the big leagues this season.

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"Our pitching is pretty well rested," Hinch said. "We feel good about where we're at, knock on wood. We'll see if that continues for the weekend. And Tyler White has swung the bat very well and [the Royals] have a couple of matchup lefties in their 'pen. I can see him coming off the bench and getting an important at-bat or two, and we wanted to take a look at the roster with one less pitcher while [reliever] Joe Smith mends."

Guduan, whose appearance on Wednesday in Oakland was his only big league outing of the season, left the team following Thursday's series finale against the A's to travel to Orlando, Fla., for the birth of his first child. He can miss as many as three games while on the paternity list.

White hit .338 with a .444 on-base percentage, 13 homers and 45 RBIs in 62 games this year at Fresno, where he played mostly second base and third base as well as first base, shortstop and left field. He will likely be limited to first base and pinch-hitting with Houston.

White said feels he's taken a couple of steps forward at the plate in Triple-A.

"It's more of a mental approach type of thing," he said. "You try to work on seeing certain pitches a little bit better, being able to handle offspeed a little bit better than in the past and that's helped as far as walking more and not striking out quit as much. I think that's been huge this year. That's why my average has been higher down there is I took more walks and fouled off some pitches I probably swing and miss in the past."

White appeared in 22 games for the Astros last year, hitting .279 with three homers and 10 RBIs. He was on the team's postseason roster for the American League Division Series against the Red Sox, but he didn't appear in a game.

Smith nearing throwing program
Smith was placed on the disabled list a week ago with right elbow soreness and he was later diagnosed with inflammation following a visit with team doctors. Smith rejoined the club in Kansas City and is waiting for the inflammation to disappear before he begins a throwing program, which could happen in the next few days.

Video: AJ Hinch discusses Smith to DL and Correa's return

"Until he starts throwing and we get some feedback on how he feels, we won't have a definite timetable," Hinch said. "The good news is he feels better."

The veteran side-armer has a 5.49 ERA in 23 outings with the Astros with 20 strikeouts and seven walks in 19 2/3 innings. In his final 12 outings before going on the DL, Smith had allowed two earned runs and struck out 10 batters in 10 1/3 innings (1.74 ERA).

"It's just kind of one of those things with how it feels is going be with how fast we can push it," Smith said. "I think we're both in agreement we would rather get it out and not push it too much, and with as well as the team is playing right now, it seems to make more sense to make sure everything is out and come back and be back for the rest of the year as opposed to rushing and having something lingering."

Odds and ends
The Astros aren't quite done handing out World Series championship rings. Prior to the June 25 game against the Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park, the team will present rings to Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, who played in one game for the Astros last year without an at-bat. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will get a ring during a pregame ceremony on June 27.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Reymin Guduan, Tyler White

Verlander rolls, McCann HRs for 8th W in a row

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

OAKLAND -- The roaring road show that is the Astros ran roughshod over the A's, with ace Justin Verlander throwing seven innings to complete a three-game sweep at the Coliseum.

Verlander (9-2) won his fifth consecutive decision as Houston's offense continued its relentless assault of Oakland pitching and bashed out 13 hits for a 7-3 victory in Thursday's series finale. The Astros have won eight in a row, improving to a Major League-best 26-11 on the road.

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OAKLAND -- The roaring road show that is the Astros ran roughshod over the A's, with ace Justin Verlander throwing seven innings to complete a three-game sweep at the Coliseum.

Verlander (9-2) won his fifth consecutive decision as Houston's offense continued its relentless assault of Oakland pitching and bashed out 13 hits for a 7-3 victory in Thursday's series finale. The Astros have won eight in a row, improving to a Major League-best 26-11 on the road.

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"Our success lately on the road is getting talked about, but we don't show up to a ballpark anywhere in the league we don't feel good about," Astros manager AJ Hinch said.

Video: HOU@OAK: Hinch on strong offense in 8th straight win

The Astros extended their winning streak over the A's to eight games and improved to 16-4 in their last 20 contests at Oakland Coliseum. Houston outscored Oakland, 26-11, for its second sweep of the A's this season.

"Justin did a really good job today, and it seems like every single guy is going out there and trying to do something for the team," said Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who went 2-for-4 to increase his road batting average to .400. "I love the way we've been playing."

Video: HOU@OAK: Altuve rips an RBI double to left field

During their eight-game winning streak, the Astros have averaged 7.1 runs, knocked 15 homers and hit .322 as a team, including .371 with runners in scoring position.

"We can get after you and we stay after you," Hinch said. "Everybody did something positive today in the lineup, and when we have that going, we're a good offense."

Verlander improved to 7-1 with a 1.34 ERA on the road this year after allowing three runs and five hits while striking out seven batters. Khris Davis hit a solo homer in the second and Matt Olson clubbed a two-run shot in the seventh against Verlander, who had allowed five earned runs in his previous 46 2/3 road innings this year.

"These guys have a really good lineup," Verlander said. "They make you work and they don't chase a lot. I feel like I navigated the lineup pretty well. Really, one not-well-executed pitch I would like back [to Davis] and another pitch selection I would like back [to Olson]. They both really hurt me, but overall a good outing."

Video: HOU@OAK: Olson crushes a 2-run homer to right field

Astros hitters rocked A's starter Frankie Montas (3-1) for seven runs (five earned) and 11 hits, including a two-run homer by catcher Brian McCann that put Houston ahead, 5-1, in the fourth, over 5 1/3 innings. Carlos Correa, Josh Reddick, Marwin Gonzalez and Tony Kemp also had two hits.

"There's some guys that are starting to feel better [at the plate] and they're getting some results," Hinch said. "Obviously, [Evan] Gattis has carried us most of the week and Jose carries us almost every day. Marwin is starting to swing the bat pretty well. Tony Kemp at the bottom of the lineup has turned the lineup over very effectively. It's been nice to see contributions throughout the order."

Video: HOU@OAK: Kemp races home from first base on an error

Astros starters allowed nine earned runs and 16 hits in 20 innings in the series, while A's starters surrendered 19 earned runs and 27 hits in 11 1/3 frames.

"For me, the psychology of a starting pitcher goes a long way," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Granted, they have a great lineup, they do things across the board well. But their starting pitchers get your attention, and when they score runs early in the game, you tend to press a little bit and think you have to do too much right away. It does start with their starting pitchers, no doubt about it."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
McCann was in a 2-for-34 slump before hitting a 392-foot home run to right field in the fourth to score Gonzalez, who had walked. The homer was the first for McCann since May 20 and his first since a disabled list stint with a sore right knee. It also marked his 268th career homer.

Video: HOU@OAK: McCann launches a 2-run homer to right

SOUND SMART
The only Astros starter not to record a hit was third baseman Alex Bregman, who walked in the fourth to extend his on-base streak to 25 games -- the second-longest current streak in the Majors.

HE SAID IT
"We have a deep offense. We've said that. We're not going to be perfect all the time, so we can't panic when we're not, but when we are good like this and putting up runs, we're pretty tough to beat." -- Hinch

Video: HOU@OAK: Gurriel smashes an RBI double to left-center

UP NEXT
Charlie Morton (7-1, 2.82 ERA) gets the start for the Astros in Friday's 7:15 p.m. CT series opener against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Morton is coming off an outing in which he walked six batters and hit four batters in 3 2/3 innings in a game the Astros won Saturday at Texas. Jakob Junis (5-6, 4.05 ERA) starts for the Royals.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Brian McCann, Justin Verlander

Astros reporter wears A's Eckersley costume

The Astros had some fun in Oakland the past few days. On Thursday, they beat the A's, 7-3, to wrap up a sweep and pick up their eighth consecutive win and improve to an MLB-best 26-11 on the road this season. 

Julia Morales, the Astros' field reporter and a host for AT&T SportsNet, also had a good time during the team's trip to the Bay. Before Thursday's win, she snapped a great candid dugout photo of Jose Altuve and Jake Marisnick. 

Correa among those poised for turnaround

MLB.com @JaneMLB

Is the West the best? In the American League, perhaps so. The defending World Series-champion Astros remain the team to beat, but the Mariners are on a magic-carpet ride, while the Angels hang tough and the A's straddle .500.

At this point, at least four of the five teams have a reasonable chance at being on top by season's end. A Wild Card spot is also likely inevitable for one of them, adding that much more intrigue to an already appealing race.

Is the West the best? In the American League, perhaps so. The defending World Series-champion Astros remain the team to beat, but the Mariners are on a magic-carpet ride, while the Angels hang tough and the A's straddle .500.

At this point, at least four of the five teams have a reasonable chance at being on top by season's end. A Wild Card spot is also likely inevitable for one of them, adding that much more intrigue to an already appealing race.

The weeks that precede the July 31 Trade Deadline will be crucial for all involved. Some of the game's best talent resides in the AL West, but supporting casts could be the difference-maker, bringing attention to a handful of players who have unexpectedly been mired in slow starts.

A look around the division at one player from each team who should be expected to turn things around as the season progresses:

Video: HOU@LAA: Calhoun makes leaping grab, nabs Springer

Angels: Kole Calhoun
Calhoun has been a key part of the Angels' core since becoming an everyday player in 2014, but the 30-year-old endured an uncharacteristically slow start to the season, batting just .145 with a .374 OPS and one home run over 50 games before landing on the disabled list with a right oblique strain on June 2.

Calhoun began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake on Wednesday, and his offensive track record suggests he's due for a turnaround. Between 2012-17, the left-handed-hitting Calhoun batted .261 with a .755 OPS and averaged 15 homers per season. The Angels have badly missed Calhoun's usual production, as their .434 OPS in right field is the lowest mark in the Majors.

Video: HOU@OAK: Correa triples down the line to score 2

Astros: Carlos Correa
The All-Star shortstop got off to a quick start by hitting .315 in April, but trudged through a rough May, during which he hit .192 with 29 strikeouts in 99 at-bats. He was hitting .208 with five homers and 14 RBIs in 101 at-bats before missing four games from June 7-10 with a side injury.

Correa helped the Astros to the World Series title last year by batting .315/.391/.550, hitting a career-high 24 homers with 84 RBIs in his second full season in the big leagues. He started for the AL in the All-Star Game.

Video: TB@OAK: Joyce launches a 2-run homer to right-center

Athletics: Matt Joyce
Joyce entered his 10th big league season riding a career .243 average and .340 on-base percentage, but he has not performed up to the standard he maintained for much of his first nine years. Before the veteran outfielder hit the disabled list with a lumbar injury on June 3, he was hitting .196/.308/.369 with seven homers. He totaled a career-high 25 home runs in 2017 after signing a two-year deal with the A's.

Though his overall numbers are well below his career averages, Joyce was contributing off the bench before he hit the DL, picking up five hits in 13 at-bats for a .385 average in such situations. Joyce could remain in a bench role once healthy.

Video: SEA@TB: Seager smashes a 2-run homer deep to right

Mariners: Kyle Seager
Seattle has gotten off to a hot start despite the 80-game suspension of Robinson Cano and some early struggles from Nelson Cruz and Seager, their biggest and best-paid hitters. Cruz has gotten back on track in the past few weeks and Seager -- one of the more consistent performers in baseball over his seven-year career -- figures to heat up before long.

The 30-year-old is running well below his career batting average of .261, dropping as low as .220 on Seattle's most recent road trip, though his power production has been good; he's on pace to hit about 30 homers and drive in 100 runs. Seager has been playing outstanding defense, and look for the average to climb soon as he traditionally warms with the weather. His best month average-wise is July, in which he's posted a career line of .299/.369/.482.

Video: TEX@SEA: Odor's 3-run double gives Rangers the lead

Rangers: Rougned Odor
Odor can get turned around after his slow start. The Rangers have a lot at stake here because he is signed for four more years at $40.5 million beyond this season. Odor has shown some good signs lately. He is hitting .268 with a .359 on-base percentage in his last 16 games. Overall he was hitting .218 with a .303 slugging percentage. He also has just one home run in 42 games and was sidelined from April 10 to May 11 with a strained left hamstring.

Odor's best season was 2016, when he hit .271 with 33 home runs, 88 RBIs and a .502 slugging percentage. Last year he hit .204 with 30 home runs, 75 RBIs and a .397 slugging percentage. The Rangers also have shortstop Elvis Andrus coming off the disabled list on Monday, and Jurickson Profar has played well in his place. So did Isiah Kiner-Falefa when he filled in for Odor at second base and at third for Adrian Beltre. The Rangers are going to be looking for playing time for both Profar and Kiner-Falefa. This is going to be an interesting situation to watch given the Rangers' long-term commitment to Odor.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB and listen to her podcast.

Kole Calhoun, Rougned Odor