The Royals scored seven runs on just five hits and defeated the Houston Astros for the third time in four tries with a 7-5 win on Friday night.
The Royals jumped on Framber Valdez with four runs in the first inning. Maikel Garcia struck out to start the game, but reached first on a passed ball. Bobby Witt Jr. would make it pay with an RBI triple to put the Royals on the board. After a Nelson Velázquez walk, MJ Melendez singled home another run. Edward Olivares jumped on the first pitch for a double down the line, and Nick Loftin would drive home the fourth run on a sacrifice fly.
The Astros got a run back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Yordan Alvarez, and they put up another run in the second on a solo home run by Jose Abreu. Ragans wasn’t at his best, but he still flashed good stuff and worked around some baserunners.
Meanwhile, Astros starter Framber Valdez seemed rattled all night by an inconsistent strike zone by home plate umpire Ryan Wills. In the sixth, he came undone. He hit Edward Olivares with a curveball to the foot to begin the inning, then did the same to Loftin. Logan Porter put down a bunt, and rather than get an easy out at first, Valdez made an awkward throw to third that was late, loading the bases. Nick Pratto hit a weak infield grounder to score a run and make it 5-2 Royals. Valdez thought he had Isbel struck out on a curve high in the zone, but Wills called it a ball and the at-bat continued. Isbel would go on to hit a grounder up the middle just past second baseman Jose Altuve for a two-run single, knocking Valdez out of the game. Valdez tossed his glove in the dugout in disgust, having giving up all seven runs despite ten strikeouts and allowing just four hits.
The Astros threatened in the sixth off Ragans when he walked the first two hitters. Kyle Tucker laced one deep to right for an out, and Ragans had a gutty strikeout of Abreu for the second out. Jose Altuve just got under a high fastball for a long out to center to escape the jam. Ragans went six innings for the eighth time in his eleven starts with the Royals, giving up just three hits and four walks with five strikeouts.
Collin Snider worked around trouble for a scoreless seventh, but trouble found Jackson Kowar in the eighth. He walked Alex Bregman to start the inning and had difficult throwing strikes. After a single by Jose Abreu, Kowar gave up a three-run home run to Chas McCormick to cut the lead to 7-5.
Fortunately, James McArthur was able to get out of the jam and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to preserve the 7-5 win and collect his second save. The Royals improve to 52-102 and will try to take the series on Saturday evening with Jordan Lyles expected to take on J.P. France at 6:10 CT.