Alvarez makes big pitch, hits 25th homer, Astros top Royals

HOUSTON (AP) — Yordan Alvarez threw Hunter Dozier at the plate from just below the cautionary track in left field to maintain a two-run, eight-inning lead, then hit his 25th homer as the Houston Astros defeated the Kansas City Royals 9-7 on Tuesday night.

The Astros also got home runs from Jeremy Peña, Alex Bregman and Aledmys Díaz as they extended their winning streak to a Major League-best eight games.

Houston trailed 4-3 in the fifth inning before Peña homered off Zack Greinke (2-5) to tie the score. Bregman’s two-run shot later in the fifth gave the Astros a 6-4 lead.

The eighth belonged to Alvarez.

Bryan Abreu’s basesloaded walk by Michael A. Taylor gave the Royals within two minutes. Phil Maton took over and Nicky Lopez hit a deep flyout that caught Alvarez and ran to catcher Martin Maldonado, who tagged out Dozier for an inning-ending double play.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Alvarez homered to left-center off of Jackson Kowar to make it 9-6. Chants of “MVP” rained down on the slugger as he rounded the bases. His 25 home runs are on par with Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber for second in the majors, four behind the Yankees’ Aaron Judge.

Luis Garcia (7-5) gave up eight hits and five runs in 6 1/3 innings for his fourth win in a row. Rafael Montero gave up a run on a groundout in the ninth before striking out the next two batters for his sixth save.

Greinke tied a season high by giving up 10 hits with six runs in five innings in his first start against Houston since signing with the Royals in the off-season. The veteran spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Astros and went to the World Series in 2019 and last year.

The Astros played a video celebrating Greinke’s time in Houston as he warmed up and closed by playing John Anderson’s “Seminole Wind,” which was his warm-up music. He received a warm round of applause and waved to the audience from the bullpen.

MJ Melendez hit a solo homer off Garcia in the second and Bobby Witt Jr. tied him up for a two-run shot in the third. It was the third homerun of the series for Melendez, who went deep in the series opener twice on Monday.

Díaz hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Kowar.

TRAINERS ROOM

Royals: LHP Daniel Lynch (blister on left index finger) is slated to make his first rehab start for Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday.

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr., who is out all season with a forearm injury, threw another live training session on Tuesday. He threw about 30 pitches and manager Dusty Baker said he will do that a few more times before moving into simulated games.

CLIMBING THE GRAPHICS

Baker tied Walter Alston for ninth all-time among managers with 2,040 career wins.

NEXT ONE

Houston’s Cristian Javier (6-3, 2.58 ERA), who struckout 27 in his last two starts combined, will face Brad Keller (3-9, 4.24) when the four-game series continues Wednesday-evening.

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