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Astros Fall Yet Again to One of Baseball’s Weaklings. Clubbed by KC 7-1.

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Weak hitting, terrible bullpen performance give the Royals an easy win.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Houston Astros
Carlos Correa (1) is tagged out by Kansas City Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield (15) during the fourth inning trying to stretch a single into a double without sliding.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros lost three out of four last week in Kansas City and needed a miracle to win the fourth game. It’s emblematic of how poorly the Astros have played cellar-dwellers all year (KC is just ahead of the Twins in the Central at the moment for you sticklers)

So this homestand with KC was supposed to be revenge. Instead, it began with yet more humiliation.

The Royals opened the scoring in the second on an RBI ground-rule double by Emmanuel Rivera. They added another run in the third on a homer by Salvador Perez, his 33rd of the year.

The Astros shortened the lead in the bottom of the third on a Yuli Gurriel double scoring Taylor Jones, who led off the inning with a single. However, Yordan Alvarez left runners on second and third with a flyout to left. (Alvarez would strand eight batters for the night.)

Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke left the game after the sixth inning allowing two runs on six hits, one walk, and two Ks. The game was well in hand.

But Yimi Garcia allowed two runs in the 2/3rds of an inning in the seventh on a lead-off walk, a single, a Whit Merrifield RBI double, and a Salvador Perez fielder’s choice. That second run scored when pitcher Garcia threw the ball over the head of catcher Martin Maldonado at home, allowing Merrifield to score. Maldonado proceeded to throw out Perez trying to advance to second.

The Royals piled on in the eighth with three runs off relievers Blake Taylor and Phil Maton. Taylor allowed a lead-off single to Hanser Alberto, and then Maton allowed two singles, a walk, and a Whit Merrifield two-run triple.

This inning could have been worse, as Taylor Jones made another fantastic assist from left field, throwing out Alberto on a perfect strike to the catcher Maldonado. (And keeping Taylor off the hook for an earned run)

The Astros got seven hits but left 10 runners on base, going 1 - 9 with runners in scoring position.

Yuli Gurriel had three hits and four of the team’s nine total bases.

It has been two very bad games for James Click’s trade deadline bullpen acquisitions. Kendall Gravemen surrendered a crucial run in last night’s loss. Tonight Yimi Garcia allowed two runs (one earned) and Phl Maton allowed three, both in only 0.2 innings pitched.

Besides Taylor Jones’ amazing throw from left field, the Astros managed this great defensive play by Carlos Correa.

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