Kennedy strikes out 11 as Royals top Astros 6-1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Ian Kennedy knew Kansas City needed a long outing, and he delivered.
Kennedy struck out 11 over seven innings, Kendrys Morales hit two home runs and the Royals snapped the Houston Astros' seven-game winning streak with a 6-1 victory Sunday.
After Royals starters Edinson Volquez and Chris Young were roughed up in blowout losses in the first two games of this series, lasting a total of 3 1/3 innings, Kennedy allowed one run and three hits with one walk.
''Last night I passed him after the game and he said, `You need for me to go nine?''' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ''I said, `No, just give me a strong seven.' And that's exactly what he did. That's a real good hitting team over there and to hold them to three hits, seven strong innings, he just pitched tremendous and gave us an opportunity to let things sort out in that bullpen.''
Kennedy (6-6) struck out his final four batters and finished one shy of matching his career best in strikeouts.
''Every time out you try to do that,'' Kennedy said. ''It doesn't happen every time, obviously, unless you're (Clayton) Kershaw or guys like him that just go out and punch everybody else out and go seven or eight innings every single time.
''That's kind of what pitching is, make everything look like a fastball. My curveball today was better than it has been. I was staying on top of it. It was a little bit better than normal. I was just throwing fastball, curveball for the most part of the game. My slider when I needed it was down and had some good break. I threw it in some good counts.''
Morales connected for a solo drive in the fourth and seventh. Cheslor Cuthbert hit a two-run shot against Doug Fister (8-4) during Kansas City's five-run seventh.
''It really happened fast,'' Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. ''It takes a little bit away from how good Doug was for most of the game and leaves a bad taste in his mouth, I'm sure.''
Lorenzo Cain had three of the Royals' 13 hits.
Fister, who was 7-0 in his previous 10 starts, lost for the first time since April 25. He gave up four runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, including three home runs.
''In a big league ballgame, most times it comes down to two or three pitches,'' Fister said. ''Ian made those pitches today. I didn't.''
Evan Gattis hit a leadoff homer in the sixth for Houston.
Astros star Jose Altuve singled in the fourth to extend his streak of reaching base safely to 29 straight games, matching his career high set last year and the longest active streak in the majors.
Royals: RHP Kris Medlen, who is on the disabled list with rotator cuff inflammation, threw 4 2/3 innings for Triple-A Omaha on Saturday, allowing an unearned run and two hits. ''He's probably not ready,'' Yost said. ''He's throwing the ball good. We need to get him built up, need to get him some consistency. He really took a good step yesterday in terms of his command. But, as to need, we've got him slated for more (rehab) starts.''
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh, who starts Monday at Los Angeles, is 4-2 with 2.82 ERA in eight career starts against the Angels.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy, who starts Monday against the Cardinals, is 3-3 with a 3.10 ERA in 13 appearances against National League clubs. St. Louis will counter with RHP Adam Wainwright.