May 30, 2024

How sweep it is: Royals use 9-run first to cruise past Astros 13-3, extend win streak to 7 games

Kansas City Royals' Nick Loftin (12) reacts as Freddy Fermin (34) scores off a hit by Maikel Garcia during the first inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, April 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

By DAVID SMALE Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Bobby Witt Jr. had four hits, including two home runs, and five RBIs and the Kansas City Royals used a nine-run first inning to defeat the Houston Astros 13-3 Thursday to complete a three-game sweep and extend their winning streak to seven games.
Vinnie Pasquantino, who came into Wednesday’s game hitting .108 with no RBIs, was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and now is hitting .222 with eight RBIs.
“To go from zero to eight in two days is pretty good,” Pasquantino said. “Hopefully we keep it up. If I could stay at this pace, we’d be in a really good spot.
“It feels good to be a part of the winning.”
The Royals completed a perfect seven-game homestand against the White Sox and Astros. It’s just the third time in franchise history they’ve played at least seven games on a homestand without a loss. The other two: seven games in 1988 and eight games in 1985, the year they won their first World Series.
“It’s a great feeling,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “I’m really happy for those guys. They’ve put in a ton of work. And to get off to that kind of start and sustain it for a full week is really challenging and really rewarding.”
Brady Singer (2-0) allowed one run and five hits in five innings.
Hunter Brown (0-2) got only two outs, but allowed nine runs and 11 hits.
“For the most part, I was generally over the middle of the dish,” Brown said. “I’m definitely not happy about it. I gotta look into it deeper. I’ve got to sit down with the staff and see what I can do.”
The Royals sent 15 men to the plate in the first inning, tying a club record with 11 hits in the inning (also set in 1986 and 2006). It was the second straight game they’ve batted around in an inning, sending 11 men to the plate in a seven-run inning Wednesday night.
“As a team we’re just coming into the clubhouse each and every day having that feeling of, ‘We’re gonna win,'” Witt said.
The feeling was more demure in the other clubhouse.
“We’ve been tested early, and this team has been tested before,” Houston manager Joe Espada said. “This is going to make us better. It’s hard to swallow those losses, but (I have) faith in that group in there. We’ll figure it out. When things are just not going your way, that’s the stuff that happens.”
Maikel Garcia (two singles), Witt (a single and a homer) and Pasquantino (two singles) each had two hits and two RBIs in the first inning. Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit in the inning except Kyle Isbel.
The Astros had baserunners in nearly every inning, but got only a solo home run in the fourth from Yainer Diaz and a pair of runs in the sixth, snapping a 19 1/3-inning scoreless streak by the Royals bullpen.
TRAINING ROOM
Astros: RHP Justin Verlander is scheduled for another rehab start this weekend prior to his potential return to the rotation. He’s been on the injured list with a right shoulder issue. … Manager Joe Espada said LHP Framber Valdez averted the worst-case scenario with elbow soreness that put him on the IL on Monday. “The soreness is pretty much all gone,” Espada said. “Now it’s time to let him play catch in the next few days and get him built up.”
UP NEXT
Astros: return to Houston for a six-game homestand against Texas and Atlanta. RHP J.P. Franco (0-1, 4.78 ERA) will take the mound Friday against RHP Dane Dunning (1-1, 4.15 ERA) for Texas.
Royals: go on a six-game road trip to New York and Chicago. RHP Michael Wacha (1-0, 2.25 ERA) will start Friday against the Mets’ RHP Luis Severino (0-1, 3.60 ERA).