KANSAS CITY -- The Astros' 11-game winning streak came to a screeching halt when Mike Moustakas hit a walk-off two-run homer in the ninth to propel the Royals to a 9-7 victory on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.The Astros' streak was the longest in the Major Leagues this season and
KANSAS CITY -- The Astros' 11-game winning streak came to a screeching halt when Mike Moustakas hit a walk-off two-run homer in the ninth to propel the Royals to a 9-7 victory on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The Astros' streak was the longest in the Major Leagues this season and the third longest in club history. Houston dropped to 36-2 when leading after seven innings -- with both losses coming to Kansas City -- as the bullpen allowed six runs and six hits in the final two innings.
Down 7-1 in the fourth inning, the Royals clawed back, as Whit Merrifield's bases-clearing double off Astros closer Ken Giles capped a four-run eighth inning that tied it at 7. The hits by Merrifield and Moustakas both came off sliders from Giles.
"They won almost every critical moment," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "When you do enough of those, they're going to come up with a big inning, and they did -- a couple of big innings. Certainly, they deserve a lot of credit for some at-bats. There was a walk in the eighth that kept the inning alive and then a few too many hittable sliders, and we walk out of here with a loss."
The Astros jumped on Royals rookie Jake Junis, scoring a combined seven runs in the third and fourth innings to knock him from the game. It was the ninth straight game that Houston has scored at least six runs. But Kansas City relievers Kevin McCarthy, Travis Wood and Mike Minor combined for 5 1/3 scoreless innings while the offense rallied.
"We felt good when we were down 7-2," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We didn't feel like we were out of the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Inning-extender: The Astros' four-run fourth could have easily been a one-run inning. With two out, Carlos Correa hit a ground ball to Cheslor Cuthbert at third base, but Cuthbert's throw pulled first baseman Eric Hosmer off the bag. Correa was awarded a hit and an RBI as Josh Reddick scored from second. Carlos Beltran then homered for a 7-1 lead.
"Every time we're ahead in the game, it seems like we win those type of ballgames, and today was one of those where the opposing team came back," Beltran said.
Holding the tie: With a runner on second and two out in the ninth, Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar saved a run when he ranged far to his left, spun and threw out Alex Bregman at first base.
"I didn't make my pitches when I needed to. I let my team down. It's all on me. In my eyes, this team won today. My failure shouldn't overshadow what these guys today. The guys did exactly what they needed to do and with my failures, it's my fault," -- Giles
"[Giles] threw it and I didn't think I could hit it, so I didn't swing. And it was a ball." -- Merrifield, on laying off a 98 mph fastball with two strikes that narrowly missed, before hitting the tying double on the next pitch
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
In the fourth inning, Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain hit a grounder headed for center field. Astros shortstop Correa made a diving stop, then threw a bullet (75 mph per Statcast™) to first base on one hop. Cain originally was ruled safe, but the call was overturned.
Astros: Lefty ace Dallas Keuchel (9-0, 1.67 ERA) will take the mound against Kansas City on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium. Keuchel has won 11 consecutive decisions dating to August.
Royals: Left-hander Jason Vargas (7-3, 2.08) will start against Houston on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. CT. Vargas scattered seven hits in a complete-game win against the Indians on Friday -- his first shutout since 2014.
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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City and covered the Royals on Tuesday.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for M/LB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.