Royals Astros Baseball

Houston Astros Jose Altuve (27) and designated hitter Yordan Alvarez (44) high five after Alvarez’s home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Thursday, July 7, 2022, in Houston. Altuve hit a two run home run earlier in the inning, tying the game. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

HOUSTON — Justin Verlander got his MLB-leading 11th win, Yordan Alvarez hit his 26th homer and the Houston Astros beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 on Thursday.

Jose Altuve added a homer and three RBI for the Astros, who bounced back after a 7-4 loss Wednesday night that snapped an eight-game winning streak.

Verlander (11-3) grinded through six innings, allowing seven hits and two runs – one earned – with eight strikeouts to lower his ERA to 2.00 in his remarkable return from Tommy John surgery. His ERA, opponent average (.190) and WHIP (0.97) all rank second in the American League.

Royals starter Kris Bubic (1-6) had walked five batters but had allowed just one hit – a single by Jake Meyers in the second inning – when Martín Maldonado doubled with one out in the fifth.

Altuve jumped on the first pitch of the at-bat, sending it into the seats in left field to tie it at 2-2.

There were two outs in the inning when Alvarez connected on his opposite-field shot to the first row in left field to put the Astros on top, 3-2. His 26 home runs rank second in the AL to Yankees’ star Aaron Judge, who has 30.


Houston added two runs in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Altuve and an RBI double by Aledmys Díaz.

ORIOLES 4, ANGELS 1: Rookie Adley Rutschman hit his first home run at Camden Yards and Baltimore extended its winning streak to a season-best five games, beating visiting Los Angeles.

Jordan Lyles (5-7) pitched into the seventh inning, allowing one run and five hits with four strikeouts and two walks on 104 pitches. Baltimore’s starting pitchers have allowed one earned run or fewer 15 times in their last 20 games and carry a 2.46 ERA over that span.


PIRATES, REDS SPLIT: Jonathan India hit a go-ahead single, Brandon Drury added a two-run triple and Cincinnati salvaged a doubleheader split with a 5-1 win against visiting Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh won the opener, 4-2, behind rookie starter Roansy Contreras, who allowed one run in six innings.


In the nightcap, India snapped a 1-1 tie with his two-out single in the seventh inning off Bryse Wilson, which followed an error by second baseman Josh VanMeter that allowed Nick Senzel to reach. Drury followed against reliever Chris Stratton and hit a line drive that eluded right fielder Ben Gamel’s diving effort and rolled to the wall for a triple.

Tommy Pham capped the rally with an RBI single.

METS 10, MARLINS 0: J.D. Davis hit his first major league grand slam, James McCann launched a three-run homer and New York routed visiting Miami behind a splendid start from Trevor Williams.

Davis set a career high with five RBI and Williams (2-5) pitched seven innings of two-hit ball as the NL East leaders won easily in the opener of a four-game series to improve to 6-2 against Miami this season.

PHILLIES 5, NATIONALS 3: Darick Hall homered, doubled and drove in two runs, and Philadelphia took two of three from visiting Washington.

Nick Nelson (3-1) gave up one hit in two scoreless innings in relief of starter Bailey Falter. Seranthony Dominguez worked a perfect ninth for his third save in four chances.


The Phillies went ahead with three runs in the third off Joan Adon (1-12).

Luis Garcia had a pair of doubles and an RBI before leaving the game in the seventh inning with a possible injury, and Juan Soto had two hits and drove in a run for the Nationals.


METS: Pitcher Chris Bassitt said he “probably won’t” inform team and Major League Baseball officials if he suspects he has COVID-19 symptoms in the future and that MLB should “just stop testing.”

Bassitt was placed on the COVID-19 list on July 1 after complaining about sluggishness to team officials. The right-hander missed his scheduled start against Texas last Friday and only rejoined the team Thursday.

Bassitt claimed he was asymptomatic.

“Just stop testing. Stop acting like COVID is far worse than a lot of other things,” he said. “I was never sick.”

He noted that under MLB’s protocols, a positive test could mean ongoing testing that keeps an asymptomatic player out for an extended period.

“I guess the answer is I never should have said anything,” he said.

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