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Late home run makes the difference, Royals fall 3-2

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Rockies avoid the sweep.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

A late home run by Pat Valaika off Mike Minor vaulted the Rockies back into the lead as they held onto a 3-2 victory over the Royals to avoid the sweep.

The Royals got to work quickly off of Rockies starter German Marquez, as Whit Merrifield homered to leadoff the game, his 15th big fly of the year. The Royals got their second run off a Brandon Moss solo homer in the second inning, his 17th of the year.

Jake Junis continued his string of good starts, leaving the game with two outs in the sixth inning, having not yielded a run when Ned Yost called upon Scott Alexander. Entering the game with runners on second and third, one out, Alexander allowed only one of the runners to cross home plate, making it 2-1.

After getting good work in relief from Alexander and Peter Moylan, Ned called for Mike Minor to face Gerardo Parra. After Parra reached base with a ground ball single to right, Minor struck out Carlos Gonzalez. Then, Pat Valaika put one in the left field seats, giving the Rockies the 3-2 lead in the 8th.

Eric Hosmer had a chance for some late-inning heroics again when he came up in the eighth after Melky Cabrera led off with a single. But Hosmer struck out against lefty Mike Dunn, and Jorge Bonifacio and Brandon Moss followed up with whiffs of their own.

It came down to the ninth inning, with former Royal Greg Holland on the mound again. Holland got an Alcides Escobar line out and a Cheslor Cuthbert fly out. Pinch-hitter Mike Moustakas came up for Drew Butera, sending a shot to center, but it would be a routine fly ball to end the game.

Up next, the Royals look to enhance their division hopes in a three game series against the Cleveland Indians. Jason Vargas will be on the bump facing Ryan Merritt.