Santana silences ‘Stros in 7-2 Royals win


Ervin Santana outpitched Erik Bedard tonight to record his 100th career victory. The 7-2 win was Kansas City’s fourth straight and the Astros have now dropped three in a row.

Santana was practically unhitable for the first 5 & 2/3 innings. Up to that point in the game the Royals righty had allowed only a Matt Dominguez single. Santana was also helped by a couple of nice defensive plays by Alcides Escobar and Elliot Johnson.

It appeared as though Santana might be starting to tire with two outs in the sixth. Brandon Barnes stroked a double to center and Jose Altuve drove him in with a single. Jason Castro followed with another hit but J.D. Martinez grounded out to end the threat. It was Altuve’s first game back after missing two games with a groin injury. Unfortunately, it looks like the Astros may be without Barnes for a while now. Brandon was forced from the game in the seventh inning with a hamstring strain.

Ervin Santana (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Carlos Pena was hit by a pitch to lead off the seventh and it looked like the Astros had a chance to get back in the game. But Pena inexplicably tried to advance to second on a ball in the dirt that Royals catcher Salvador Perez managed to block and keep in front of him. Pena was thrown out and Chris Carter‘s opposite field homer that followed made the score 6-2 instead of 6-3. That was as close as the Astros would get.

As for Bedard — the Astros lefty didn’t pitch as poorly as his numbers would suggest. The Royals scored six runs on eight hits in 4 & 2/3 innings while Bedard was on the mound, but there were a few seeing-eye hits and bloopers included in their attack. Bedard also walked three and struck out only two. Clearly he didn’t have his best stuff tonight but a couple of Astros fielding errors didn’t help his cause. The subpar outing ended a streak of five straight starts in which Bedard had allowed three runs or less. It was the longest such active streak in the American League.

Brad Peacock came in and did a nice job of saving the bullpen. Peacock went the rest of the way, surrendering one run on two hits and a walk in his 3 & 1/3 innings of work.

The Astros will have some interesting roster decisions to make before tomorrow’s 1:10 CT series finale. Someone will have to be bumped from the roster to make room for left-hander Wade LeBlanc who was claimed off waivers from Miami today. The current roster includes 13 pitchers and only 12 position players. That means a pitcher will need to be sent out to make room for LeBlanc.

The injury to Barnes further complicates matters. If Brandon can’t play but doesn’t go on the D.L. the Astros will have only two healthy bench players. If Barnes goes to the D.L. we could see the return of Robbie Grossman. Justin Maxwell is another possibility. Maxwell has gone 0 for 10 in three games on an injury rehab assignment at Corpus Christi.