Houston has lost back-to-back games

Astros drop back-and-forth game to Royals to open four-game series

Jake Odorizzi couldn't hold down the Royals in Monday's opener. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

With their four-game winning streak snapped in the finale against the Angels on Sunday, the Astros moved on to their next series, a four-game set against the Royals starting Monday in Kansas City. Instead of creating a new winning streak, they'd drop the back-and-forth opener to make it a two-game losing streak.

Final Score: Royal 7, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 70-48, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Scott Barlow (5-3)

Losing Pitcher: Yimi Garcia (3-8)

Trading blows early

Houston started the game by shifting the momentum in their favor, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the top of the first after a leadoff double by Jose Altuve set up a two-out RBI single by Yordan Alvarez. That started a back-and-forth battle, though, with the Royals responding with a two-run go-ahead bottom of the second, getting four hits including a one-out RBI double and two-out RBI single to go ahead 2-1 on Jake Odorizzi.

They tagged Odorizzi with another run in the third, taking advantage of back-to-back walks to start the inning with a one-out RBI single to extend their lead to 3-1. While Houston's starter settled back in, his offense helped get him off of the hook in the top of the fifth. Aledmyz Diaz started the frame with a solo homer, then with two outs, Michael Brantley delivered an RBI single to knot it up 3-3.

Odorizzi's night comes to a rough end

After a scoreless bottom of the fifth by Odorizzi, Carlos Correa put the Astros back in front with a 430-foot go-ahead solo homer to lead off the top of the sixth. Kansas City answered to keep the slugfest going, though, getting a one-out solo shot in the bottom of the inning to end Odorizzi's night with a no-decision. His final line: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros come up short and drop the opener

The first reliever out of the Astros' bullpen was Phil Maton, who finished the sixth for Odorizzi by retiring the two batters he faced. Ryne Stanek took over in the bottom of the seventh, but after watching a leadoff walk move to third on two stolen bases, he allowed a go-ahead RBI single to put the Royals back in front 5-4. Once again, things got tied up as a pinch-hitting Taylor Jones in the top of the eighth reached on a one-out double, then scored on a two-out RBI single by Aledmys Diaz, who would get caught between first and second to end the inning.

Yimi Garcia was the next reliever for Houston, but after two outs, he gave up three straight hits, the third a two-RBI single by Salvador Perez to put the Royals back on top 7-5. Despite Jason Castro getting the Astros within a run with a solo home run with one out in the top of the ninth, that's as close as they'd come as Kansas City would close things out to take the opener.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday. Framber Valdez (8-3, 3.09 ERA) will try to get the win for the Astros, while the Royals are expected to send Daniel Lynch (2-3, 5.97 ERA) to the mound.

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MLB Network released their list of the top 10 starting pitchers in baseball this week, and two names were suspiciously left off. Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier are nowhere to be found on the list. Apparently, dominating one of the best lineups in baseball on the biggest stage means nothing?

Be sure to check out the video above as Paul Gallant shares his thoughts on the rankings.

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