Carlos Corporan, Jose Altuve , and Lucas Harrell (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Yordano Ventura is a name baseball fans will be hearing a lot in the coming years. Tonight Ventura pitched seven strong innings as the Kansas City Royals defeated the Houston Astros 4-2 to give the rookie his first career win.
Lucas Harrell took the hill for the Astros, and once again he failed to deliver. Now I am not the biggest Harrell backer, but I do recognize and acknowledge the success he had in 2012. It is something that we have not seen consistently since, but Harrell has shown it in flashes.
Tonight we didn’t see Harrell’s best, but he wasn’t at his worst either. He needed 101 pitches, just 56 strikes, to get through five innings and he allowed all four of Kansas City’s runs. Omar Infante got things started with a first inning home run, but Harrell got out of the inning without incident.
Dexter Fowler, who is continuing to regain his strength, helped get things started for the Astros in the bottom of the inning with a lead off double. A Jason Castro single, he was the designated hitter tonight, put runners on the corner with one out, but that is where the offense stalled. Jose Altuve did not do the job of a cleanup hitter, and struck out. Only a Ventura error on a pickoff attempt that allowed Fowler to score evened the score.
Harrell was done in by a Robbie Grossman error that turned a Lorenzo Cain single into a third inning lead off triple. Cain scored on an Infante fielder’s choice, who then scored on Eric Hosmer‘s double. A Billy Butler fifth inning sacrifice fly closed out the scoring for the Royals.
If you are looking for positives from Harrell’s outing, he didn’t fall prey to the big inning. Yes his body language wasn’t great at times, but that is something we have come to expect from the right-hander. In all he allowed four hits and three walks while striking out four.
After the first inning, the Astros were held hitless until Carlos Corporan‘s fifth inning home run. Matt Dominguez‘s lead off single in the seventh inning was the only other hit Houston had on the evening.
All night, Ventura was in control of the Astros. He struck out the side in the second inning and had seven strikeouts while also walking three batters. After he departed, Houston had even less luck with the Royals bullpen. Wade Davis pitched a perfect eighth inning while striking out two batters and Greg Holland struck out the side in the ninth inning to end the game.