KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Scott Podsednik hit a three-run homer and Anthony Lerew pitched six effective innings, lifting the Kansas City Royals to a 5-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday night in a game that included a bizarre reversed call by the umpires.
The Royals couldn't take advantage of that ruling in the fifth inning, but scored four runs off Brett Myers (4-5) in the seventh to win for the fifth time in seven games. Yuniesky Betancourt had a run-scoring single in the inning and Podsednik followed with his first homer in 144 at-bats.
Lerew kept the Royals close despite a shaky first inning in his return to the majors and Victor Marte (2-0) worked a scoreless seventh. Joakim Soria allowed two hits in the ninth before closing out his 16th save in 18 chances.
The Royals had trouble against Myers early, even after benefiting from a rare overturned call.
The play came with one out in the fifth inning, when Betancourt hit a soft liner to shortstop with Mike Aviles on second. Second base umpire Mike Everitt initially ruled Geoff Blum caught the ball on a fly and got the final out by doubling up Aviles at second.
After meeting behind the mound, the umpires changed the call, saying the ball hit the ground before Blum fielded it, and sent both teams back onto the field. Aviles was put on third and Betancourt was called out — even though Blum never threw to first.
Crew chief Tim McClelland told the Royals the decision was to correct the missed call on the field and that it was assumed Blum would have thrown out Betancourt at first. Blum was awarded an assist and first baseman Lance Berkman was given a putout despite never touching the ball.
Podsednik lined out on the next pitch to officially end the inning.
The Royals finally got to Myers in the seventh, getting three straight singles and Podsednik's homer off the back of the Kansas City bullpen to go up 4-2.
Myers allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Kansas City went ahead 5-2 in the eighth on Aviles' fielder's choice grounder against Wilton Lopez.
Lerew got the start after Luke Hochevar was placed on the disabled list with a strained elbow. The young right-hander was decent in a short stint in the majors last season, going 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts, and had a 2.84 ERA at Triple-A Omaha before being called up.
His return to the majors got off to a rocky start.
Lerew issued a four-pitch walk to Michael Bourn to start the game and gave up a line-drive, two-run double to Hunter Pence that froze Podsednik in the first.
The early-game jitters out of the way, Lerew then fell into a rhythm, keeping the Astros unsettled with his cha-cha-quick footwork and syrupy off-speed pitches.
Lerew struck out five over the next three innings and didn't allow another hit until Kevin Cash's soft, one-out single in the fifth. He matched a career high with seven strikeouts and allowed two runs on three hits.
NOTES: Warren Buffet threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He bounced it in front of the plate. ... Astros 3B coach Dave Clark was back on the field after being hit on the leg by a batted ball Wednesday night. ... Kansas City's Jose Guillen extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the eighth.
(This version corrects that Aviles was on second base for overturned call, not DeJesus, in paragraphs 5 and 6)