KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)Salvador Perez broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer in the sixth inning and the Kansas City Royals ended a five-game losing streak, beating the Houston Astros 6-0 Saturday.
Kris Bubic and the Kansas City bullpen combined on a five-hitter, snapping Houston’s five-game winning string.
”I thought he got better the deeper he got into the ballgame,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. ”He just kept making pitches, kept teasing the zone and getting them to chase at times.”
Perez connected with two outs in the sixth off Astros starter Luis Garcia (3-4), sending a drive into the left field bullpen. Perez added an RBI double during a four-run eighth.
”I’d had two or three strikeouts on a fastball up, so I tried to make the adjustment, tried to think what they’re going to do to you,” Perez said. ”It was a fastball up. It was a good pitch. I just put the barrel on it. You’ve got to get on top of that pitch when you’re struggling.”
Perez’s seventh home run snapped an 0-for-22 streak and was his first homer since May 14. He drove in a run for the first time since May 15.
”That’s what I try to do every time, try to help my team to win,” Perez said. ”Hopefully things start to move a different way.”
Last season, Perez topped the majors with 121 RBIs and was tied with Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with a big league-leading 48 home runs.
”Salvy kind of stole the show for us today,” Matheny said. ”And that’s the guy we want to see stealing the show. We want to see him come through and feel that confidence we know he has as an offensive weapon.”
Bubic, called up from Triple-A Omaha before the game, gave up five hits in five innings, striking out three and walked three.
”I was kind of tiptoeing the whole time, but made pitches when I needed to,” Bubic said. I could tell early on this was a game where I was going to have to mix it up. That’s a pretty good lineup over there; they can do damage up and down their lineup. Just got to stay unpredictable.”
Bubic got 13 of 15 outs on changeups, using it on 49 of his 98 pitches.
”The changeup was pretty much a dominant pitch,” Matheny said. ”He used it in, he used it out of the zone.”
Four relievers completed the Royals’ fourth shutout with Collin Snyder (4-2) picking up the victory.
Garcia went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits, walking one and striking out two.
”Personally, it was a good game,” Garcia said. ”It was two runs and that’s it. It happens, hHomers happen. I pitched to contact today, which helped me through my pitch count. Overall, it was a good outing.”
Michael Brantley had two hits for the Astros. Houston left 10 runners on base and was 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position while getting shut out for the fifth time this year.
”We left quite a few men on base and they didn’t,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. ”They are a contact team and know how to play in this ballpark, so we just have to chalk that one up to them beating us.”
The Royals posted their 2,000th regular-season win at Kauffman Stadium, which opened in 1973.
The start of the game was delayed 51 minutes due to threat of rain.
Astros LHP Blake Taylor was placed on the 15-day IL due to left elbow discomfort.
Houston recalled LHP Parker Mushinski from Triple-A Sugar Land. Kansas City optioned RHP Ronald Bolanos to Omaha.
LHP Framber Valdez (5-2, 2.57 ERA) goes for Houston on Sunday. RHP Jonathan Heasley (0-2, 4.66) start for Kansas City.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports