Astros once again bested by Royals in lopsided loss

The Astros continued to struggle against beatable teams in a loss to the Royals on Monday. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
After a disappointing 1-3 series against the Royals last week, the Astros entered the new three-game series with Kansas City hopeful for a different outcome with this series at home. Instead, they would fall again as the baffling trend of losing to beatable teams continues.

Final Score: Royals 7, Astros 1

Astros' Record: 73-52, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Daniel Lynch (4-3)

Losing Pitcher: Zack Greinke (11-4)

Greinke tosses another quality start

It was not the start that Houston, who dropped three of four to the Royals in Kansas City last week, hoped for on Monday. The Royals jumped out to an early lead against Zack Greinke, getting a one-out double and two-out RBI ground-rule double in the second, then a solo homer in the third, going in front 2-0.

Houston cut that lead in half in the bottom of the third, getting a leadoff single by Taylor Jones, who would later score on an RBI double by Yuli Gurriel, making it 2-1. Greinke kept it a one-run game the rest of his start, tossing a 1-2-3 fourth and working around a single and walk in the fifth before finishing with a scoreless sixth. His final line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 92 P.

Astros once again can't handle the Royals

Despite having the tying run on third with one out in the fifth, Houston remained down one run after Greinke was done, with Yimi Garcia taking over in the top of the seventh. He did not do well, allowing a walk, RBI double, and another run on an error, putting the Royals in front 4-1 before Blake Taylor would finish the frame.

Taylor remained on the mound in the top of the eighth, but things quickly spiraled out of control for Houston as after a single and an out, they would switch to Phil Maton, who would have a rough outing. He allowed three earned runs, one on a two-out single, then a two-RBI triple, as Kansas City broke the game open at 7-1. The six-run lead would hold for the Royals, who handed the Astros another loss, and after winning three of the four-game set at Kauffman Stadium, would claim the season-series victory with two games left to play.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday. The pitching matchup will be Luis Garcia (9-6, 3.39 ERA) for Houston and Brady Singer (3-8, 5.23 ERA) for Kansas City.

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1. Davis Mills had an up-and-down day under center Friday. One play saw Mills drop back and try to get rid of the ball as Jonathan Greenard was rushing him only to have Greenard leap up and intercept Mills for what would have been an interception returned for a score.

2. A few plays later Davis Mills showcased his short memory. Mills surveyed the field, looked off the safety, and pitched a strike to Brevin Jordan over the middle, wide open, for a touchdown.

3. Davis Mills doesn’t stack bad plays. It is rare to see multiple bad plays happen in a row and Mills be the cause, or a cause, of the play not working. When he misses something, he usually makes up for it the next play.

4. It was a makeshift offensive line on Friday. Max Scharping played a lot at left guard. Charlie Heck saw some snaps at left tackle while Laremy Tunsil took a breather. Veteran lineman Cedric Ogbuehi played some at right tackle. There was plenty of work emphasized on the rushing attack Friday. The offensive line was fine, nothing special. I would say slight edge to the defense overall.

5. Rookie Kenyon Green didn’t practice. Right tackle Tytus Howard didn’t practice either. Pro Football Network is reporting Tytus Howard is out with a positive Covid test. Kenyon Green was banged up last practice, but Lovie Smith expects both back in the coming days.

6.The offensive line had its hands full with the defensive line today. Jonathan Greenard made the above-mentioned play of the practice with an interception. It felt constantly like there was some level of success from the defensive line. Not to say they dominated, but I would think the defense is happy with their day.

7. Maliek Collins has been a nice player in camp. He looks a bit quicker than last year. Collins downplayed how many “close” plays he had last year citing that everyone knows the saying “close but no cigar.” I asked him if he expected a lot of cigars this year. He chuckled and said yes. Teammate Roy Lopez gushed about what he believes Collins can be for this team and called his teammate one of the best defensive tackles in the league.

8. I almost wonder if quiet Derek Stingley days are good days. Stingley wasn’t involved in a lot of plays, but I know Davis Mills saw him on Friday. Mills dropped back on one play and made a read to his left seeing Chris Moore. Stingley darted from coverage towards Moore causing Mills to move off Moore and head to Nico Collins for a score. Yes, the defense allowed a touchdown, but Stingley did his job.

9. Rookie safety Jalen Pitre is a “starting” safety for the team according to Lovie Smith. Pitre had an interception, depending on who you ask, in practice. It is clear the Texans trust him and have put a lot on his plate. I would expect to see a lot of the rookie safety, good or bad, this season.

10. Lovie Smith praised the team’s depth at linebacker earlier in camp. I scoffed a little at the notion, but there seems to be a new linebacker making a play each day. Christian Kirksey had a nice stop in the run game today. Kevin Pierre-Louis, who played very little last year, has flashed. There’s some depth here, despite my skepticism.

11. Ka'imi Fairbairn doesn’t have a challenger in camp this year. I believed this offseason should have seen at the very least someone to challenge the kicker heading into his seventh year in the league. He’s been solid in camp so far, but there have been some misses. It is tough to judge distance, but the team clearly has faith in him with no challenger in sight.

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