Herrera can't hold serve in decisive 7th frame
HOUSTON -- For much of the past two seasons, Kelvin Herrera has been the precursor to doom, which the Royals' bullpen often spells for opponents.
On Wednesday night, the flame-throwing righty looked mighty mortal for a second game in a row. Herrera took the loss, allowing the decisive run in the seventh inning of a 6-5 loss to the Astros, who swept the three-game set.
Herrera did it with some uncharacteristic volatility on his command in the seventh. He plunked Jose Altuve on the hands with a 98-mph fastball on the inside corner and left a ball right over the plate for Evan Gattis on what should have been the go-ahead RBI single.
"He came in and was just flying open the first two hitters, ended up hitting Altuve," manager Ned Yost said. "He made an adjustment and was really good after, but ... the hit to Altuve just hurt him."
Herrera did indeed settle down after the Gattis shot that ricocheted off him and made for a 1-4-3 putout. But Altuve reached third on the play with just one out.
After Herrera unintentionally walked Luis Valbuena on four pitches, Chris Carter hit a chopping ball to third base. Mike Moustakas made a hurried play and opted to throw home.
The throw was mostly online, but just enough away from a sliding Altuve to ensure that Salvador Perez's swift tag was late enough. The Royals challenged, but a review deemed the safe call as stands.
It's a rarity to see it from Herrera, especially after his brilliant start to this season on the heels of a great postseason run in 2014. He's now allowed a run in consecutive games for the first time this season.
Rest assured, there's no panic about it on the Royals' end.
"We get into the seventh inning right there ... and you're feeling pretty good after [Jarrod] Dyson's triple knowing the history of Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland, and how good they are in tie ballgames," Yost said.
"Just took a few batters to get into it [tonight] and they found a run they needed."