Astros 3, Royals 1; Lyles Holds Royals In Check, Martinez Homers

Bob Levey

Lyles and the bullpen brought the pitching, and J.D. Martinez brought the offense as the Astros defeated the Royals 3-1 tonight.

How about Jordan Lyles. It's been a roller coaster of a season for Lyles up to this point as he came into spring largely considered the Astros third starter, but after a bout of ineffectiveness he instead opened the season in Oklahoma City. There his effectiveness varied, but it was good enough to earn him a promotion to Houston to start this month. For the most part Lyles has been solid for the Astros this season, minus his second to last start where he gave up eight earned in four innings. Porter has kept the boxing gloves on in dealing with Lyles up to this point as tonight was the first time Lyles has logged six innings in a game despite having workable pitch counts in three of his four other starts.

Lyles was able to put up a second straight solid start after his meltdown against the Rangers two starts ago. Lyles went six innings, allowed six hits, and only one earned run. He only allowed two extra base hits tonight, one a triple by Jeff Francoeur, and another a double by George Kottaras. It took Lyles 101 pitches to complete his six innings of work, and of those 101 pitches he threw 65 for strikes.

Unfortunately for the Astros James Shields was equally as effective, probably moreso, by allowing seven hits and two earned runs while striking out seven. All of the scoring for the good guys was done in the first with two outs when Jason Castro singled on a nasty changeup by Shields in which Castro threw the bat at and dropped a bloop single to center. J.D. Martinez followed Castro's rocket with one of his own when he laced his fourth home run of the season to right field to give the Astros the early 2-0 lead.

Despite several other warning track drives and scattering seven hits, the Astros were unable to bring anyone else across the plate against Shields. The only other extra base hit against Shields was a double by Carlos Pena who gets the assist by a misplay by Jeff Francoeur in right.

The Astros were able to play add-on once Shields left when Altuve (still 0fer what seems like a lifetime for Altuve) got things started with a two-out walk. He then stole second to get into scoring position for Jason Castro who doubled in Altuve to give the Astros a 3-1 lead.

As frustrating as the bullpen was in last night's loss, it was equally as impressive in tonight's win. Blackley and Ambriz combined for two shutout innings and only allowed a walk to bridge the gap to closer Jose Veras tonight. Veras proceeded to retire the Royals in order with a 1-2-3 ninth, good for his eight save of the season in ten tries.

Defensively Jason Castro had a good night behind the plate by throwing out Lorenzo Cain on a stolen base attempt at second. He was also able to catch Chris Getz off guard in the eight on a snap throw to first which led to a big out in that inning.

With the win tonight the Astros took the series against the Royals and enter the off-day on a positive note. Next up for the Astros is the Oakland A's this Friday. Erik Bedard looks to build off of his recent run of good starts and will be countered by the A's Tommy Milone.

GIF of the Night

Astros Win!

Astroswin_medium

Here's Barnes just dancing

Barnesdance_medium

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