New formula: Score less, win more
After scoring seven runs in the series opener Monday at Houston and losing 9-7, the Royals scored four runs in the final two games at Minute Maid Park and won both.
Bruce Chen and four relievers combined for a 2-1 victory Wednesday over the Astros. While the Royals’ offense managed only four hits, they scored just enough runs for the pitching.
Chen, working on three days’ rest, allowed one run on five hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out six and walking two.
Jonathan Broxton and Greg Holland weaved into and out of trouble in the eighth and ninth innings. Broxton permitted two singles and had runners on the corners with one out but recovered to get a strikeout and a flyout for his 18th save.
“The thing about him is he doesn’t panic,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He stays calm and continues to make pitches.”
— INF Irving Falu was recalled Wednesday from Class AAA Omaha. Falu hit .326 in 12 games earlier this season with Kansas City in his first major league action before returning June 1 to Omaha when INF Yuniesky Betancourt came off the disabled list. Falu hit .370 with four home runs and 16 RBI in 15 games in the Pacific Coast League after being sent back to Omaha. In 126 at-bats this season with the Storm Chasers, Falu hit .333 with a .397 on-base percentage.
— RHP Louis Coleman was optioned to Class AAA Omaha as the Royals pared their pitching staff from 14 to 13. Coleman was recalled Monday but yielded five runs in two innings that night in a 9-7 loss at Houston.
— RHP Kelvin Herrera struck out all four batters he faced. The four strikeouts is a career high. Twice before he struck out three, the previous time being June 13 against the Brewers.
— RHP Greg Holland did not allow a run in two-thirds of an inning. Since coming off the disabled list, Holland has a 1.02 ERA (two runs in 17 2/3 innings) in 19 appearances.
— C Salvador Perez went 4-for-4 and scored three runs for Class AAA Omaha. Perez raised his average to .340 but was 0-for-16 in his previous four games. Perez is on a rehab assignment after undergoing knee surgery in spring training.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4-2 — Royals’ record on their trip to Houston and St. Louis.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Piece of cake. We had them all the way.” — Royals manager Ned Yost, deadpanning after a 2-1 victory Wednesday over the Astros, who stranded 11 runners, went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded the tying run at third base with one out in the ninth.