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Astros 9, Royals 3: Carter, Springer homer in series sweep

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It's a sweep in Kansas City.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Fueled by home runs and good pitching, the Astros finished off a three-game sweep of the Royals on a sunny afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. The game marked the team's fifth consecutive victory.

Houston's offense got off to a strong start. In the top of the first inning, George Springer lifted a high home run to left-center field off Royals starter Danny Duffy. The homer, landing in the first row of the bleachers, was Springer's sixth in six games.

The 'Stros added three more runs by the fourth inning. Two came on a bases-loaded single by Dexter Fowler while another came on a double by Carlos Corporan, the day's starting catcher. By the fifth inning, Houston's hitters ramped Duffy's pitch-count up to 86, causing him to be relieved by Kelvin Herrera.

Meanwhile, 'Stros starter Jarred Cosart successfully completed a high-wire act through five innings, throwing 95 pitches while scattering four hits and two walks. The effort proved more than sufficient, as Cosart earned his fourth win of the season, evening his record at 4-4 (if you're into that kind of stuff).

Cosart's win was solidified by the power of Chris Carter, who returned to the lineup after sitting for three games. "Trogdor" mashed a dinger off Duffy in the fifth inning, chasing him from the game. Then, against Louis Coleman with two runners on in the sixth, he belted another jack to the left field, this one soaring over the Royals' bullpen. The big-fly made a 6-2 game a 9-2 one. The afternoon was by far the best performance of the season by Carter, whose home run total now sits at eight.

Handed a sizeable lead, three Astros relievers--Jerome Williams, Darin Downs, and Kyle Farnsworth--completed innings six through nine. Williams pitched two innings, allowing Kansas City's only other run, a homer by backup catcher Brett Hayes. Nonetheless, it was a stable performance by what appears to be an increasingly reliable bullpen.

Next, Houston will look to extend its winning streak in a four-game home series against the Baltimore Orioles. The first game starts tomorrow night as Brad Peacock squares off against Ubaldo Jimenez.