KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer produced runs with eighth-inning singles, but it was solid pitching that allowed the Kansas City Royals to win their fifth straight game.
Gordon and Hosmer snapped a scoreless tie with eighth-inning RBI singles as the Royals beat the Houston Astros 2-0 on Sunday.
The winning streak is the Royals' longest since they reeled off seven straight in September 2011.
Luis Mendoza, Aaron Crow and Greg Holland combined to shut out the Astros on five hits, four of them singles.
"He (Mendoza) was spectacular today, had a little bit of his trouble with his curveball, commanding it, but throwing it down in the zone enough so he wouldn't get hurt, had a tremendous sinker," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The defense today was spectacular also. It started in the first inning and went throughout the game. A tremendous job of pitching and a tremendous job of playing defense to really bail him out of stuff that really never developed because our defense was so good. And a good job of clutch hitting in the eighth inning."
Gordon's one-out single off reliever Hector Ambriz scored Chris Getz, who had singled and stolen second. Gordon motored to third on Trevor Crowe's throwing error and came home on Hosmer's single.
"Getz got it going," Yost said. "We got one out. You keep thinking if Getz can get on here, he's got a chance to steal second. You've got Gordy and Hos coming up next, a chance to score one run to get Greg Holland in the game.
"He does a great job of legging it out. He hit the ball enough in the hole. (Jose) Altuve dove and caught it. It was just that little second double pump in there that allowed him to beat it out and he stole second like that. Gordy came up big with the base hit and then Hos with the base hit right after that. It worked out great."
Ambriz, who took the loss, had not allowed a run in his previous nine appearances, covering 7 2/3 innings.
"They got some hits to get on base and drove them in," Ambriz said. "I thought I made some good pitches, but they got them through the holes for base hits."
Crow picked up the victory in relief and Holland posted his 12th save.
Mendoza, who has only one victory in 11 starts, pitched seven scoreless innings, his longest outing of the season. He gave up four hits, walked one and struck out three to lower his ERA to 4.19.
"I pitched to contact and mixed my pitches," Mendoza said. "Every game we win is always a good vibe. We just try to keep that vibe, even if we lose, try to keep our heads up and keep this streak going."
Astros starter Lucas Harrell, who was 1-5 with a no-decision in his previous seven starts, stymied the Royals on two hits for seven scoreless innings, but was pulled after 99 pitches.
"I definitely wanted to go back out," Harrell said. "I don't care if I'm at 80 pitches, 50 pitches or 120 pitches, I always feel like I can go back out. Defensively, they were great behind me today. They made some really nice plays. I just got back to trusting my defense again."
The Royals loaded the bases with two out in the first on a single by Salvador Perez, who had three hits to extend his hitting streak to five games since moving into the third slot in the lineup, and walks to Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas. David Lough's grounder to Altuve ended the threat.
The Royals did not get a runner past first base off Harrell after the first inning.
Ronny Cedeno led off the Astros third with a double and moved to third on Altuve's groundout but did not score. Mendoza struck out Jason Castro, and Carlos Corporan flied out to left.
Mendoza retired 12 straight after Cedeno's double before the Astros led off the seventh with singles by Carlos Pena and J.D. Martinez, but they advanced no farther.
NOTES: OF Brandon Barnes was held out of the Houston lineup with tightness in his left hamstring. He exited in the sixth inning on Saturday with the injury. ...Lough started at all three outfield positions in the three games against the Astros. ...SS Alcides Escobar, who has seen his average dip from .295 on May 5 to .239, was not in the Royals' starting lineup. He had played in the first 59 games.