HOUSTON -- With a methodical eighth-inning scoring outburst that was long overdue, the Kansas City Royals snapped their four-game skid with a 7-3 victory over the Houston Astros Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.
Kansas City (21-21) closed to within 3-2 on the strength of consecutive RBI singles by Alcides Escobar and David Lough in the seventh inning. The Royals' four-run eighth sealed the win, with Mike Moustakas snapping an 0-for-18 skid with a run-scoring single and George Kottaras adding a bases-loaded walk. Escobar followed with a run-scoring fielder's choice, with Moustakas also scoring when Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez uncorked a wild throw trying to erase Escobar at first.
The Astros (13-33) were undone by their leaky bullpen, which surrendered all seven runs after right-hander Bud Norris worked six scoreless innings before departing at the start of the seventh inning with tightness in his back. Travis Blackley, Paul Clemens (1-2), Wesley Wright and Jose Cisnero allowed at least a run apiece working in relief of Norris.
The Royals had dropped four consecutive one-run games. Bruce Chen (3-0) earned the win in relief of right-hander Wade Davis.
Davis appeared to carry the momentum from his previous start, a 9-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels on May 15, surrendering just one base runner in each of his first three innings before hitting a rough patch in the bottom of the fourth.
Davis alternated strikeouts and singles until right fielder Jimmy Paredes blasted a 93 mile-per-hour cut fastball out to right field, putting one over the fence for the first time since the 2011 season. Paredes reached in all three of his plate appearances against Davis.
Royals left fielder Alex Gordon had similar success against Norris, stroking three singles over his first three at-bats. Norris didn't have any trouble with the rest of Kansas City's lineup, allowing just one base runner into scoring position before recording his first strikeout of the game to open the sixth. Norris' defense rendered aid, with catcher Jason Castro erasing Gordon as Gordon attempted to swipe second base in the fourth. Norris also started a crucial inning-ending double play to close the fifth inning.
Norris, who departed his previous start in Detroit with back spasms and had his next start bumped back two days, was pulled after tossing several warm-up pitches prior to the seventh inning. He allowed five hits and two walks with two strikeouts over six scoreless innings.
NOTES: Royals SS Escobar was absent from the starting lineup for the first time this season. Escobar and Gordon were the only two Royals to start every game at their respective positions. ... Houston Texans rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins tossed a ceremonial first pitch. Hopkins was the Texans' first-round pick (27th overall) in last month's NFL draft. ... Before working six scoreless innings Tuesday night, Norris had a 1.89 ERA over 16 home starts since the start of the 2012 season, the fourth lowest home ERA over that span.