KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer each had run-scoring singles in the eighth, Luis Mendoza pitched seven innings of four-hit ball and the Kansas City Royals beat the Houston Astros 2-0 on Sunday for their fifth straight win.
Aaron Crow (2-1) worked a scoreless eighth to earn a victory that gave the Royals their longest winning streak since taking seven in a row from Sept. 10-17, 2011.
With one out in the eighth, Chris Getz singled and stole second off reliever Hector Amrbiz (1-3). Gordon, who was 1 for 18 on this homestand, singled to center for the first run. Gordon moved to third on center fielder Trevor Crowe’s errant throw home and scored on Hosmer’s single.
Greg Holland pitched a spotless ninth for his 12th save in 14 opportunities.
Astros starter Lucas Harrell held the Royals to two Salvador Perez singles in seven scoreless innings.
The Astros got only one runner past first base in the first six innings. Ronny Cedeno doubled to start the third and advanced to third base on a groundout, but went no further.
Mendoza, who entered 0-2 with an 8.05 ERA in four home starts, retired 12 in a row after Cedeno’s double.
Harrell, who had won only one of his previous seven starts, retired 13 in a row from the second inning until Perez’s single in the sixth. But he was quickly erased when Billy Butler grounded into a double play.
Perez also singled in the first, when the Royals loaded the bases with two outs on walks to Butler and Mike Moustakas walked in the first to load the bases with two outs. Harrell got out of the jam by retiring David Lough with a fielder’s choice grounder.
Harrell allowed just one runner – Jeff Francoeur, who walked to leadoff the second – after the first inning. Harrell threw 51 pitches – only 26 strikes – in the first two innings, but needed just 48 pitches for the next five innings.
The Astros opened the seventh with Carlos Pena and J.D. Martinez singles, but failed to score.
NOTES: Royals SS Alcides Escobar, who is mired in a .191 slump with a .221 slugging percentage in his past 32 games, was given Sunday off after playing in the first 59 games. . Astros OF Brandon Barnes, who left the game Saturday with left hamstring tightness, did not play Sunday. . It was Kansas State day at Kauffman Stadium with Wildcats’ shooting guard Will Spradling and linebacker Tre Walker throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. .The Royals host AL Central-leading Detroit for a three-game series with RHPs Doug Fister and Jeremy Guthrie the probable starters for Monday.