Billy Butler and David Lough both hit RBI doubles in the bottom of the eighth inning to help the Kansas City Royals down the Houston Astros, 4-2, in the opener of a three-game set at Kauffman Stadium.
Wesley Wright (0-2) started the eighth for Houston with the game tied at 2-2 and allowed an Eric Hosmer single. Josh Fields then took the hill and forced a quick out, though Butler smacked a double to left and two batters later, Lough added some insurance with a two-bagger to help the Royals secure the win.
Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer, while starter James Shields lasted seven solid innings, allowing both runs on nine hits with six strikeouts. Greg Holland retired the side in the ninth for his 11th save of the season.
The Royals have won three straight.
Jason Castro and Trevor Crowe drove in the lone runs for Houston, which had a six-game road winning streak come to an end. Jordan Lyles also lasted seven frames, allowing two runs on six hits for the Astros, who were looking to win seven straight road games for the first time since Sept. 3-9, 1999.
"I have a lot of respect for him," Lyles said of facing Shields. "He made a bunch of pitches. I remember sitting in the dugout on the bench and him making a lot of crucial pitches to get double plays with guys on third. He did a really good job once again."
Hosmer lead off the fourth with a infield single that deflected off Shields' glove. Perez followed with a shot to left, giving the Royals a 2-1 lead.
Both pitchers continued to battle as the game progressed, though Houston rallied in the seventh to tie the game at 2-2.
Marwin Gonzalez smacked a leadoff single, then advanced to second on wild pitch. After a strikeout, Crowe's groundout to the right side moved Gonzalez to third with two outs, before Castro came through with a clutch run- scoring double.
"I was trying to go inside with a fastball," Shields said. "I hadn't thrown a fastball the whole entire at-bat right there. I think I was trying to do too much. I threw it over the heart of the plate. I think if I threw a changeup or curveball right there I might have gotten a groundball or something like that. But the bottom line is we won the game."
Houston opened up the scoring in the third, as Crowe's RBI triple plated Brandon Barnes.
The Astros fell to 10-6 all-time at Kauffman Stadium ... Lyles entered the game having posted a 2-0 record and 1.90 ERA in his past four starts ... Shields is 0-4 over his last seven starts and has received just 11 runs of support ... The Astros just dropped two of three at home to Baltimore, but recently swept a six-game trip in Colorado and Anaheim before that set ... Shields' last win came on April 30.