Following the worst home losing streak in team history, the Kansas City Royals have a chance to match their longest winning streak of the season there.
Providing Ervin Santana with some much-needed run support would certainly help their chances.
The Royals will try for their fourth straight victory Saturday night when they take on a Houston Astros team that's slumping since a season-best win streak.
Butler has gone 13 for 23 in a seven-game hitting streak at home."It's a lot of fun, man. It was a big win for us. We're starting to turn things around, we're starting a little winning streak and we want to keep it going," said Hosmer, 4 for 7 with three runs in the last two games.
The Royals had lost 11 in a row at Kansas City before taking their last three there. They won four straight at Kauffman Stadium from April 30-May 5.
Kansas City scored 27 runs during a 2-11 stretch before plating 15 in the past three contests.
Santana (3-5, 3.03 ERA) certainly hasn't been the beneficiary of that kind of recent production, as he has an AL-worst 2.68 run-support average.
The right-hander has gone 0-4 with a 3.92 ERA in his last six starts, receiving nine runs of support in that stretch. He allowed one unearned run and three hits over seven innings of a 3-1 loss at Texas on Sunday, not getting a decision.
He'll make his second career start against the Astros, having faced them in 2007 with the Los Angeles Angels .
Santana will take on a Houston team that went 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position Friday. The Astros have dropped three of four since a season-high six-game win streak, totaling four runs in the past three losses."That was real tough to drop a game like that, especially coming in close," said reliever Josh Fields , who gave up Butler's double in the eighth.
The Astros will try for their seventh win in eight road games with Erik Bedard (1-2, 4.76) set to take the mound. The left-hander limited the Angels to one run over seven innings of a 2-1 win Monday for his first victory in 12 starts, dating to last season.
He's posted a 2.79 ERA in his last five outings, receiving just 13 runs of support in that stretch. Bedard has gone 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA in seven career starts against the Royals.
Houston's Brandon Barnes went 2 for 5 on Friday and is 6 for 16 during a four-game hitting streak.
Teammate Jose Altuve could return to the lineup Saturday after missing the last two games because of a groin injury.
|May 26, 2013||Edgar Gonzalez||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|May 21, 2013||Bud Norris||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back spasms|
|May 13, 2013||Bud Norris||Day-to-Day||Left game - Back spasms|
|April 24, 2013||Justin Maxwell||15-Day DL||Fractured left hand|
|April 20, 2013||J.D. Martinez||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|April 20, 2013||J.D. Martinez||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|Kansas City Royals|
|May 16, 2013||Jarrod Dyson||15-Day DL||Right ankle sprain|
|March 31, 2013||Danny Duffy||60-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|February 12, 2013||Felipe Paulino||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Ervin Santana plans to give the ball from his 100th career win to his mother.
It's a gift that's been a long time coming.
Santana pitched seven snappy innings in his seventh attempt to reach the milestone, and the Royals finally gave him enough support in a 7-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night that also gave Kansas City its fourth consecutive win.
"It's a dream come true. I'm just very excited for it," Santana said of the win. "It's a long process, a lot of bad outings and a lot of good outings. It feels good to get there."
Santana (4-5) entered the game with the worst run support among qualifying pitchers in the American League, a big reason why he already had six fruitless tries to win his 100th game.
He finally made thanks to a seemingly endless series of singles and doubles off the Astros' Erik Bedard (1-3), who failed to make it through the fifth inning.
"Santana pitched good. He was throwing strikes, getting people off balance and getting outs," Bedard said. "On the contrary, when I pitched they got hits and scored runs."
Santana allowed five hits in seven innings, striking out six without a walk. The only damage he allowed came on an RBI single by Jose Altuve and a solo homer by Chris Carter .
"He was commanding his fastball extremely well, good slider he kept down and on the outside of the plate. Good speed on his breaking ball. But command more than anything else," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He just looked dominant at times."
Kansas City had been averaging 2.68 runs per nine innings in games Santana started, and it hadn't scored more than four runs for him before Saturday night.
But the offense has been coming alive in the nine games since Hall of Famer George Brett took over as interim hitting coach. The Royals have put up at least four runs in each of their four wins, and that's no negligible feat: They improved to 20-5 when scoring at least four times.
The result of the Royals' recently improved production has been just their third four-game winning streak of the year and their first since April 30-May 5.
It didn't take long for them to strike Saturday night, either.
David Lough led off the game with a single and motored into second when centerfielder Brandon Barnes bobbled the ball. Lough scored on a base hit by Salvador Perez , and he in turn came around on a double by Hosmer that was helped into the left-field corner by some gusting wind.
The Royals added three more in the fourth when Bedard put the first five batters on base. The runs came on an RBI single by Miguel Tejada , a runs-scoring double by Jeff Francoeur and a bases-loaded, double-play groundout by Lough that made it 5-0.
Kansas City tacked on another in the fifth when Hosmer worked a two-out walk and Lorenzo Cain hit a two-out pitch into the gap in right, knocking Bedard from the game.
It was a forgettable 200th career start for the left-hander, who gave up six runs in 4 2-3 innings. It certainly bore little resemblance to his last time out, when Bedard allowed just one run over seven innings in a win over the Angels.
"I think Erik, even though he battled, there were some plays that probably should have been made that were not made," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Make no excuse about it, he battled."
Santana had no such trouble against the light-hitting Astros, who only had one hit over the first five innings and didn't push a run across until there were two out in the sixth.
Carter's homer came in the seventh inning.
Otherwise, Santana was in control all night. He struck out at least one in each of the first five innings, and picked up his first victory since beating Cleveland on April 27.
"Most of us just found out tonight. A hundred wins, that's unbelievable, man," Hosmer said. "This is a tough league. If you get to 100 wins, that means you've had a long career."
Notes: Houston CF Brandon Barnes left in the sixth with tightness in his left hamstring. ... The Astros claimed LHP Wade LeBlanc off waivers from Miami. Manager Bo Porter plans to use him out of the bullpen when he arrives Sunday. ... Royals LF Alex Gordon got his first night off of the season. He's in a 3-for-30 slump. ... Houston RHP Lucas Harrell goes to the mound in the series finale Sunday against Royals RHP Luis Mendoza .