Houston takes two of three in the series

Astros take series from Royals with walk-off win in Bregman's return

Alex Bregman made his long-awaited return to the Astros' lineup on Wednesday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a win Tuesday night to even this three-game set at a game apiece, the Astros put out a revitalized lineup on Wednesday afternoon to try and get the series victory. Despite the Royals getting a big blow in the late stages of the game, Houston would come away winners in extra innings.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 6, Royals 5

Astros' Record: 75-52, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Kendall Graveman (5-0)

Losing Pitcher: Joel Payamps (0-3)

Houston goes in front after trading homers

After scoreless frames in the first and second, Martin Maldonado would start the scoring for the day with a one-out solo homer in the bottom of the third, giving the Astros a 1-0 lead. It was short-lived, as Salvador Perez would match that to lead off the fourth, tying the game. Yordan Alvarez responded in the bottom of the inning, though, getting the third solo homer in as many half-innings, putting Houston back on top 2-1.

The score held there through the fifth inning, then in the bottom of the sixth, Alex Bregman recorded his first RBI in his first game rejoining the team from the IL, getting a two-out double to score a run and extend the lead to 3-1.

McCullers Jr. has a rough end to an otherwise great start

Meanwhile, on the mound for Houston was Lance McCullers Jr., who, other than that solo homer back in the fourth, was doing exceptionally well. After holding the Royals to their one run over the first six, he came back to the mound with the 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh, looking to get through it to finish his day.

Things unraveled for him, though, as after two quick outs, he would load the bases on a single and two walks, ending his day as Dusty Baker would bring in Cristian Javier to try and get out of the jam. Instead, Javier would allow a go-ahead grand slam on his first pitch, with three of the runs charged to McCullers to dramatically degrade his line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 1 Hr, 107 P.

Astros take the series with walk-off win in extras

Down 5-3 after the grand slam, Houston started to claw their way back into it in the bottom of the seventh. Jake Meyers led the inning off with a single, got into scoring position on a groundout, then scored on an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz to make it a one-run game. Javier, who allowed the big blow in the seventh, returned and retired the side in order in the top of the eighth to keep it 5-4.

Houston tied things up in the bottom of the eighth, getting a runner to second base before bringing in Michael Brantley to pinch-hit, who would deliver a game-tying RBI single. After a scoreless ninth inning on both sides, Kansas City started the top of the tenth with their free runner on second but would do nothing with it as Kendall Graveman would get through the inning unscathed. That left the door open for the Astros, and with Bregman on second to start the bottom of the tenth, he moved to third on a Kyle Tucker single, then scored on an RBI groundout by Jake Meyers to win the game and the series.

Up Next: Houston will enjoy a day off tomorrow as they pick up a three-game series with the Rangers on Friday in Arlington at 7:05 PM. The pitching matchup for the opener is Jake Odorizzi (6-6, 4.52 ERA) for the Astros and Lordan Lyles (6-10, 5.33 ERA) for the Rangers.

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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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