Royals struggle to score against McHugh in 8-2 loss to Astros

Alex Gordon talks with home plate umpire Adrian Johnson after striking out during the sixth inning.

Troy Taormina/Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON — Chris Young put the Kansas City Royals in such a big hole early that it was impossible for them to recover on Monday night.

Collin McHugh bounced back from the shortest start of his career by pitching seven scoreless innings and Colby Rasmus hit a two-run homer as the Houston Astros won their home opener over the Royals, 8-2.

Young (0-2) allowed nine hits and six runs in 4 2/3 innings. The Astros jumped on him early and were up by 1 in the first after an RBI double by Correa when Rasmus launched a towering shot to the second deck in right field to make it 3-0.

"Just one of those nights," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Wasn’t exceptionally sharp but battled through it. We were down 3-0 by the time the fifth hitter came up, but he did a good job of settling in in the second and the third."

Then the Astros got to him again in the fourth when Luis Valbuena had an RBI double, Jason Castro drove in a run with a triple and Jose Altuve had a run-scoring single to push the lead to 6-0.

"They’ve got hitters that can do damage," Young said. "I missed my spot a few times and got hit. Then hit my spot a lot and gave up hits, too. At that point you give them credit. I’ll go back, get back to work and hopefully be better my next outing."

Carlos Correa had three hits and two RBIs for Houston, Altuve had three hits and rookie Tyler White, who was named the American League player of the week earlier in the day, added a pair of hits for his fourth multi-hit game this year.

McHugh (1-1) allowed eight hits and struck out four in his first start since he allowed six runs and walked two in 1/3 inning of a 16-6 loss to the New York Yankees.

The Royals had trouble stringing hits together against McHugh. He got into a bit of a jam in the fifth inning with runners at first and second with one out. But Mike Moustakas grounded into a double play to end the inning. The Royals loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but McHugh retired Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain to end the threat.

"We had a couple of chances … (but) McHugh made some big pitches when he needed to in those situations," Yost said.

They avoided a shutout when Kendrys Morales connected off Tony Sipp for a two-run homer to left field in the eighth inning.

Eric Hosmer added three hits for the Royals, whose three-game winning streak ended.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: OF Jarrod Dyson (right oblique strain) will continue his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday after taking a day off on Monday.

Astros: Right-hander Lance McCullers (right shoulder soreness) allowed three hits and one run with four strikeouts in three innings in his first rehabilitation start for Double-A Corpus Christi on Monday night. … DH Evan Gattis (sports hernia surgery) was activated from the disabled list after the game. INF Matt Duffy was optioned to Triple-A.

WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?

A fan apparently threw a baseball into shallow right field as Royals right fielder Rey Fuentes chased after a triple hit by George Springer with one out in the eighth inning. Some of the Royals were confused by the extra ball, but Fuentes didn’t see it until after he threw the real ball to second baseman Omar Infante.

"I saw it on the ground, and I was like, ‘Why is this ball here?’" Fuentes said.

WHAT AN ENTRANCE

Houston backup catcher Erik Kratz didn’t make the most graceful entrance when the team was introduced before the game. Kratz tripped on the orange carpet the Astros laid out for the pregame festivities and did a belly flop onto the ground. As soon as he got up several Royals, who were standing on the field after being introduced, laughed and pointed at him. When they were sure he was looking, about five of them tipped their caps to their former teammate, who spent parts of the last two seasons in Kansas City.

UP NEXT

Royals: Kris Medlen makes his first start of 2016 on Tuesday. Medlen went 6-2 with a 4.01 ERA last season after returning from Tommy John surgery following the All-Star break.