Altuve helps Astros sweep Royals with 6-5 win
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros statement sweep of the Kansas City Royals came at a cost, as center fielder George Springer could be heading to the disabled list with an injured right wrist.
Jose Altuve had three hits and scored the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning to help the Astros complete the three-game sweep with a 6-5 win on Wednesday night.
Springer, who is hitting .264 with 13 homers and 29 RBIs, was plunked on a 95 mph fastball thrown by Edinson Volquez in the fifth inning. He left the game shortly after and was having X-rays after the game. But manager A.J. Hinch wasn’t optimistic about the injury.
“We’re going to get more and more tests with some specialists,” Hinch said. “It was painful for him, there was some swelling. It was in a tricky area; anything around the hand and the wrist area is cause of great concern. We’ll see how it goes but, I do think it’s going to be a DL.”
The game was tied at 5 in the seventh when Kelvin Herrera (1-2) plunked Altuve on the forearm. Altuve stole second and reached third on a lineout. He put Houston on top when he beat the tag at the plate on a fielder’s choice by Chris Carter.
The play was reviewed and upheld.
“I knew it was a close play,” Altuve said. “With those plays you never know if you are safe or not. But I was hoping to be safe because I know our bullpen is really good and I think that run will be enough to win the game.”
The Astros trailed early before taking a 5-3 lead after a four-run fifth inning. A two-run triple by Jarrod Dyson off Josh Fields tied it in the seventh before Altuve scored the go-ahead run.
Luke Gregerson (3-1) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.
Carter and Marwin Gonzalez hit solo homers for Houston and Evan Gattis drove in two runs.
The Astros have the most wins in the American League at 47-34, but the Royals have the best winning percentage in the AL at 44-31.
Houston rookie starter Vince Velasquez yielded five hits and four runs with seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings but did not factor into the decision. He hasn’t recorded a decision in any of the first five starts of his career to tie an MLB record set by three others, the last time coming in 1997 by Chris Brock.
“We’d like to reward him one of these days with a win,” Hinch said. “He pitched well enough to win tonight but obviously the team win is more important.”
Kendrys Morales hit a two-run homer in the first to give Kansas City an early lead and Alex Rios drove in a run in the second.
Velasquez retired 13 in a row after the hit by Rios, with Kansas City’s next hit coming with on a single by Lorenzo Cain with one out in the sixth inning. But the rookie still faced the minimum in that inning thanks to a double play.
Volquez tied season highs with eight hits and five runs in five-plus innings. He struck out six and allowed a season-high two homers.
“It just got away from here right there,” manager Ned Yost said of the fifth inning. “He just started getting pitches up. He’s trying to throw his curveball down and kind of left it up at times.”
Volquez had retired 10 of 11 batters when Carter hit the 100th homer of his career with one out in the fourth to get the Astros within 3-1.
Gonzalez’s homer, which landed several rows into the stands in right field, started the scoring in the fifth inning to make it 3-2. Volquez then walked Jason Castro before plunking Springer. Altuve’s RBI single tied it before the single by Gattis sent two home to put Houston on top 5-3. Gattis was out at second on the play and Volquez struck out Luis Valbuena and Carter to end the inning.
Royals: 1B Eric Hosmer missed a third straight game with a sprained left ring finger. Yost said that he was doing better on Wednesday but that he’ll probably be out for a couple of more days.
Astros: OF Colby Rasmus was out for the fifth straight game because of a skin infection on his left arm caused by a bug bite. He had been hospitalized receiving intravenous antibiotics to try to eliminate the infection, but has been released and rejoined the team on Wednesday.
Royals: Right-hander Chris Young faces Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson when the Royals open a four-game series with the Twins on Thursday. Young got a win against Oakland in his last start by allowing four hits and two runs in six innings.
Astros: Houston has the day off on Thursday before opening a series at Boston on Friday. Dan Straily will be recalled from Triple-A to make his first start in the majors this season against Justin Masterson. Straily, who was traded from the Chicago Cubs this offseason, is 6-6 with a 4.06 ERA at Fresno in 2015.