Offensive Woes Continue In 5-1 Loss

Beltran: Symbolized plate woes
(c) Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle
During the spring, the Astros were subjected to brief winning and losing streaks which appear to be carrying into the first homestand at Minute Maid Park. After winning three to open the season, Houston has now lost their second straight, the Friday opener of a weekend series with Kansas City by a 5-1 count.

The only Astros run came in the seventh when Carlos Beltran drilled a double to right center, scoring Carlos Correa who had singled off Jason Vargas just before that. It was a milestone achievement for Beltran who tied Joe DiMaggio for 49th place all-time in big league RBIs with 1,537. Unfortunately, none of Beltran's new teammates could bring him home as Peter Moylan struck out Evan Gattis and Josh Reddick before Travis Wood retired Nori Aoki to end the threat.

Houston managed just six hits off Vargas before the Royals' bullpen slammed the door shut for the final three innings. The Astros' early-season superman, George Springer, was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and his other out came when Lorenzo Cain robbed him of extra bases.

Mike Fiers gave up a solo homer to Kansas City's All-Star catcher Salvador Perez in the second inning and was victimized by his own catcher, Gattis, when Brandon Moss trotted home on a catcher's interference call in the sixth. Overall, Fiers was tagged with the loss despite allowing just one earned run over six frames. He gave up five hits and walked three.

Jandel Gustave gave up the remaining three runs in the eighth when a passed ball on Gattis plated Perez then Alex Gordon cracked a two-run double to put the game out of reach.

Before the game, Dallas Keuchel (1-0) received his second Gold Glove award for fielding excellence among American League pitchers. He'll put his real glove to work Saturday in hopes of breaking the sudden two-game skid. The Royals will counter with Danny Duffy (0-0), the fourth straight lefthanded starter the Astros will have faced. The first pitch will be at 6:10 Central time.

Off the field, the Astros suffered a setback when starting pitcher Collin McHugh experienced soreness in his right elbow and bicep and was pulled from Thursday's rehab start in Fresno. He'll now be examined further by team doctors and will need to remain on the disabled list longer than previously hoped. In the short term, that means more starts from Fiers and Joe Musgrove who had originally been in competition for the final spot in the starting rotation.

- Bob Hulsey