Houston's rally comes up short

Astros' losing streak extends to four with another loss to Royals

Zack Greinke tossed another quality start on Wednesday, but it wouldn't be enough to end Houston's losing streak. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Astros entered Wednesday's game, the third of this series, in great need of a momentum shift to snap their losing streak. Despite a late clutch hit to put them ahead, the Royals would one-up them again to hand them their fourth loss in a row.

Final Score: Royals 3, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 70-50, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-4)

Losing Pitcher: Domingo Tapia (1-0)

Greinke posts another quality start

After three and a half quiet innings on both sides, the Royals started the scoring against Zack Greinke in the bottom of the fourth. They notched three straight singles with one out, the third an RBI single to grab a 1-0 lead. Greinke rebounded and remained in control, though, ultimately finishing six innings while allowing just that one run for a quality start. His final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 85 P.

Houston finally backs him up in the seventh

After struggling to get anything going against Brady Singer, making his second start since returning from injury, the Astros finally started a rally in the seventh. Managing just three hits in the six innings prior, they loaded the bases with two outs on two singles and a walk, reaching the catcher's spot in the lineup, which Dusty Baker would use to swap Martin Maldonado for Jason Castro. That move proved correct, as Castro would deliver a two-RBI single to give the Astros a 2-1 lead.

Astros drop fourth straight despite late rally attempt

Blake Taylor took over for Greinke in the bottom of the seventh, looking to maintain the new one-run lead against the left-handed portion of Kansas City's lineup. The Royals pounced on him, getting a leadoff double then a two-run go-ahead homer to go back on top 3-2. He would get a strikeout against his third batter but was then removed for Kendall Graveman, who finished the frame.

He remained on the mound in the bottom of the eighth, working around a single and hit batter to keep it a one-run game going to the ninth. The Astros would start the top of the ninth with the tying run at the plate, and after a pair of one-out singles, would get it in scoring position and eventually bring Jose Altuve to the plate. He nearly tied it up; getting a single, but a great throw to the plate by Andrew Benintendi would ruin Houston's hopes, dropping their fourth in a row and giving the Royals the first three of this set to secure the series victory.

Up Next: This series's fourth and final game and Houston's last of this road trip will be an afternoon start at 1:10 PM Central on Thursday. Mike Minor (8-11, 5.35 ERA) will take the mound for the Royals, while Luis Garcia (9-6, 3.30 ERA) will start for the Astros.

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Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

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