KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The sight of rookie right-hander Yordano Ventura being led off the field by a trainer was more disturbing to the Royals than their fifth defeat in seven games.
Ventura departed with a sore elbow with two outs in the third and Houston outfielder George Springer homered in his fourth straight game and went 4 for 4 with three RBIs and scored five runs in the Astros’ 9-2 victory over Kansas City on Monday night.
"In the third inning his velocity dropped and I went out and he told me he was feeling a little something in the back of his elbow, but it’s on the outside, not on the inside," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I’m not concerned that it’s a ligament injury. The trainers came right out and when they said it was on the outside, that’s where my concern dropped off."
The hard-throwing right-hander is scheduled to have an MRI exam on Tuesday.
"In the third inning, I threw a few pitches and it started to feel a little weird," Ventura said with teammate Bruce Chen acting as interpreter. "I felt something unnatural. It was a little uncomfortable, unnatural and I decided to say something.
"I’ve never felt that before. I came out of the game, but started feeling better after some treatment."
The Astros have won three straight, matching their longest winning streak this season, and snapped a six-game losing streak to the Royals.
Springer led off the eighth with a home run off Louis Coleman, his fifth homer in four games. He is the first Houston rookie to homer in four straight games. Lance Berkman was the last Astro to homer in four straight games, July 4-8, 2010.
Springer also had two doubles and became the first Astro to score five runs in a game since Cody Ransom on Sept. 24, 2007, against St. Louis. Springer extended his hitting streak to eight games, and is 8 for 16 with 11 RBIs and 10 runs in the past five games.
Scott Feldman (3-2) held the Royals to two runs and eight hits over six innings.
Ventura (2-5) went 2 2/3 innings, yielding five runs on seven hits and three walks before being replaced by Michael Mariot. Ventura’s fastball routinely hits three figures on radar guns and is consistently in the upper 90s.
However, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said he noticed Ventura’s velocity dropping.
"I’ve never seen him throw at 93," Hosmer said. "I’ve seen him throw a changeup at 89, but 93 isn’t something I’ve seen. Then he pointed to his arm, but Skip (Yost) did say it was on the outside of his elbow. It is a relief, but not until we hear what’s going on. We’ll know about it soon. But if he misses a start or two or if it’s just two weeks, we’d take that as a win."
The Royals could not win against an Astros’ offense that had a season-high 16 hits, including a career-high four from Marvin Gonzalez, who had a double, an RBI and a run scored, while Alex Presley had three hits. Dexter Fowler reached base five times with two hits and three walks.
The nine runs matched an Astros’ season high.
Lorenzo Cain had four hits, matching his career high, and drove in a run for the Royals, who have lost five of seven.
"I’m feeling pretty good at the plate," Cain said. "I have to keep it going, have to find ways to get on base for my teammates to drive me in."
NOTES: Royals 2B Omar Infante, who was on the disabled list with a lower back injury, was activated and doubled in the first inning. RHP Casey Coleman was optioned to Triple-A Omaha. . Astros RHP Brad Peacock, who was scratched from a May 23 start with forearm stiffness, threw a bullpen session Monday and was given the OK to start Thursday against Baltimore. . Chen, who is on the disabled list with a bulging disc, threw a 25-pitch simulated game Monday. Chen soon could be going on a minor league rehab assignment. . The Astros recalled OF Robbie Grossman from Triple-A Oklahoma City.