Major League Baseball
Astros-Royals preview
Major League Baseball

Astros-Royals preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 8:50 p.m. ET

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Alex Gordon is back in the Kansas City lineup after missing 30 games with a right wrist fracture and is expected to be there again when the Royals try to salvage the finale of their three-game series with the Houston Astros on Sunday.

Manager Ned Yost immediately inserted Gordon in the second hole in the batting order, while dropping shortstop Alcides Escobar from two to eight.

"His best numbers have been in the two spot, (although) it's only 125 at-bats," Yost said. "Esky's best spot traditionally has been the eighth spot. Both guys seem to be comfortable in those respective spots. We'll see how it looks for a while."

Gordon has 126 plate-appearances and 111 at-bats in starting 28 games batting second. He has a .342 average with a .421 on-base percentage and .532 slugging percentage. Gordon has batted in every position in the order with the most as a leadoff -- 1,265 at-bats for a .280 batting average.


Before the injury this season, Gordon had batted in the sixth slot 28 games, 13 games batting fifth and one game batting second.

In six rehab games, Gordon hit .364 with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha.

"Timing was great," Gordon said. "I was seeing the ball good. My swing actually felt good, that was a plus. I came out of it with all good stuff."

Gordon was welcomed back to a standing ovation and responded by homering and doubling in his final two at-bats of a 13-5 loss to the Astros.

Escobar went 1-for-5 batting eighth. He entered the game with a .280 batting average in 183 games (182 as a starter) batting eighth.

In last year's magical run to winning the World Series, Escobar was the Royals' primary leadoff hitter despite a .259 batting average and .296 on-base percentage while hitting first. The Royals, however, went 82-49 with Escobar leading off.

"Gordy's been swinging the bat well here lately," Yost said. "You try to get a configuration that gives you the most production in the lineup. Looking at strict numbers, Esky's numbers weren't great in the one, but our won-loss record was great with him in the one."

The Astros, who have a seven-game winning streak and are 32-19 since May 1, have scored 26 runs in demolishing the Royals in the first two games of this series. The Astros have right-hander Doug Fister going Sunday and they are 10-0 in his past 10 starts. Eric Hosmer is 10-for-26 with a home run and six RBIs off Fister.

"To win the first two games in the fashion we have sets us up nicely for a chance at the sweep," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

The Royals will be more than happy not to see again Houston second baseman Jose Altuve again this year unless it is in postseason. Altuve went 4-for-5 on Saturday and is batting .481 this season against Kansas City.

Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy, who starts the series finale, has permitted 10 home runs in his first four June starts.

On the flip side, the Astros have homered in 10 straight games, matching their longest streak since June 14-23, 2015.


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