Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez homered during a three-run fifth inning as the Houston Astros beat the visiting Kansas City Royals 5-2 in the finale of a four-game series on Thursday.
Justin Verlander (11-3) took over the major league lead in wins after allowing two runs (one earned) over six innings. Houston bounced back after having its eight-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday.
Phil Maton and Rafael Montero each pitched a scoreless inning before Ryan Pressly retired the Royals in order in the ninth for his 18th save.
Houston catcher Martin Maldonado had three hits and reached base four times. The Astros led 3-2 before adding two runs in the eighth on Altuve’s sacrifice fly and Aledmys Diaz’s RBI double.
Andrew Benintendi, Emmanuel Rivera, Edward Olivares and Nicky Lopez each had two hits for the Royals, whose four pitchers issued a total of 10 walks.
Kansas City scored first for the fourth straight game in the series with a run in the second inning. Verlander allowed consecutive singles to Rivera and Olivares before Lopez delivered a two-out RBI single.
The Royals added another run in the fourth. Olivares hit a leadoff single, moved to third on a two-base error by center fielder Jake Meyers and scored on Kyle Isbel’s sacrifice fly.
Kansas City starter Kris Bubic (1-6) ran into trouble in the fifth. Altuve tied the game with a two-run homer to left field and Alvarez put the Astros ahead with a solo blast to center.
Alvarez’s 355-foot shot was his 26th of the season and third in his last four games.
Bubic yielded three runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings. He walked six and struck out five while matching his season high of 98 pitches.
Verlander departed after giving up seven hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. His 24 career wins versus Kansas City are his most against any single opponent.
Benintendi has reached base multiple times in 10 straight games for the Royals, who went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base.
–Field Level Media