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Yordan, Altuve, and Verlander propel Astros over Royals for series win

Yordan Álvarez and José Altuve hit homers while Justin Verlander pitched a good game to finish the Astros’ homestand in fashion.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Houston Astros Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

This is not a déjà vu: Yordan Álvarez hit another home run to help the Astros defeat the Royals 5-2 on Thursday. In a game that the Astros began losing 2-0 due partially to defensive miscues, Houston was capable of completing a nice comeback win thanks to another quality start by Justin Verlander and home runs from both José Altuve and Álvarez.

Verlander got in trouble in the second inning, allowing consecutive singles to Emmanuel Rivera and Edward Olivares before striking out Kyle Isbel. With one out and two men in scoring position, catcher Martín Maldonado threw to third base and picked off Rivera. Then, Nicky López brought the Royals’ first run of the game with an RBI single.

In the fourth, Kansas City made it 2-0 after a Jake Meyers error in center field, but that was enough for Verlander. The living legend found composure and completed six innings of seven hits and two runs (one unearned). He gave up two walks and struck out eight hitters.

Besides being the first 11-game winner in the MLB, Verlander has the second-best ERA in the American League (2.00), trailing only Rays’ Shane McClanahan (1.74). In addition, this was Verlander’s 24th career win facing Kansas City, most against any team.

The fifth inning brought the best in terms of run production for the Astros…

With Maldonado standing on second base after hitting a double, Altuve took starter Kris Bubic deep to tie the game with his 17th of the season. Tuve went 1-for-2 with three RBIs, a scored run, and two walks. He’s gotten at least a base-hit in every game he’s played in July (10-for-23, .435 BA).

One hitter later, Álvarez went yard against Bubic as well for his 26th long ball of the year: An opposite-field solo shot to give the Astros the lead and also his third homer in his last four games. Álvarez keeps leading the Major Leagues with a 1.075 OPS.

The best bullpen in the MLB by ERA (2.63) did its thing to preserve the lead after Verlander was done. Phil Maton threw a scoreless seventh, Rafael Montero struck out the side in order in the eighth before the Astros added two more runs, and closer Ryan Pressly threw 13 pitches to get his 18th save of the campaign, tied with Jordan Romano for second-most in the young circuit.

On Friday, the Astros will head to Oakland to begin a three-game series against the Athletics. José Urquidy is the announced starter by Houston while the A’s are yet to name somebody to pitch.