Astros pitcher Zack Greinke made a return to Kauffman Stadium and defeated the Royals 6-1 on Saturday evening. It was the first win for Greinke against the team that drafted him, giving him a win against all 30 MLB teams. Zack allowed just one run over six innings with seven strikeouts and no walks to pick up his 16th win of the year.
The Royals were able to strike first against the Astros with a run in the third. Nicky Lopez led off with a single, followed by a double by Whit Merrifield. Lopez was initially called out on a close play at home plate, but upon further review, the call was overturned after being challenged by the Royals, making it 1-0 Kansas City.
But the Astros would level the game immediately, with Alex Bregman opening the fourth with a solo home run against Royals starter Mike Montgomery. Monty pitched effectively however, holding the Astros to just one run through five innings before he got into a jam in the sixth. The lefty walked Bregman, then gave up a single to Yuli Gurriel and a run-scoring single to Kyle Tucker to score Bregman and give Houston the lead. He induced what looked like an easy double play on a grounder to Adalberto Mondesi, but Lopez dropped the ball to load the bases. Fortunately, Tim Hill did a heroic job pitching his way out of the bases loaded jam and the Royals escaped the frame down just 2-1.
But the Astros are a very, very good team, and the Royals are not, and the dam broke in the eighth. Yordan Alvarez, the all-world rookie for Houston, smacked a pinch-hit three-run home run off Gabe Speier to break the game wide open. Houston would add another run in the ninth off Jake Newberry to make it 6-1.
The Royals managed just eight hits against five Houston pitchers, with just one going for extra bases. Alex Gordon and Whit Merrifield each had a pair of hits, while Ryan O’Hearn went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. For the second night in a row, the Royals had someone ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Last night it was Ned Yost and Alex Gordon, this time it was bench coach Dale Sveum ejected in the second inning by umpire Chris Guccione.
The Royals fall to 55-94 and will wrap up the series Sunday afternoon with Jakob Junis facing Wade Miley.