HOUSTON (AP) Ian Kennedy was dominant in his first start with Kansas City.
He was even more impressive in his second outing Thursday night.
Kennedy threw seven strong innings, Eric Hosmer hit a two-run double during a five-run sixth and the Kansas City Royals beat the Houston Astros 6-2.
Kennedy (2-0) started with five hitless innings and retired 14 straight before Carlos Gomez‘s leadoff single to center in the sixth. Kennedy struck out seven and allowed a run on two hits and two walks.
The right-hander signed a $70 million, five-year deal with Kansas City in January.
“I’ve been very impressed with him,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It’s kind of what we expected. He is a guy that competes well and pitches down in the zone.”
Through two starts, Kennedy has allowed one run in 13 2/3 innings.
“He was every bit as good (as last time out),” Yost said. “He commanded everything really, really well. He managed his pitch count well and did a great job.”
Kennedy credited his defense, which tracked down several deep drives on the warning track to center among other plays.
Mike Moustakas hit a solo homer in the first and went 2 for 4 with a walk.
Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon and Omar Infante each had two hits, and the Royals set a season high with 13 of them. The defending World Series champs are 7-2 after winning the final three games of this four-game set.
“That’s what our offense does,” Hosmer said. “We kind of hang around there and take advantage of one big inning.”
“He gave us a lot of trouble,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said of Kennedy. “He was pretty bullish with his fastball and then he was landing his breaking ball in the strike zone which created a little bit of an in between approach for us.”
After Houston put runners on first and second with one out in the ninth, Wade Davis induced a double play for his fourth save.
Doug Fister (1-1) allowed six runs on nine hits with two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. He had settled down after the first inning to retire 13 straight before the sixth inning.
“I’m just not getting my job done there,” Fister said. “My job is to get the guy out at the plate no matter what happens. I’ve got to execute and I didn’t execute.”
Houston is 3-7 and in its second three-game losing streak already this season.
Royals: OF Jarod Dyson (right oblique strain) had Thursday off while he continues his rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha. Dyson had played both Tuesday and Wednesday and is 4 for 13 in four games.
Following Gomez’s single in the sixth, Marwin Gonzalez blooped one into shallow center field. Alcides Escobar made a sliding, over the shoulder catch, hopped up and fired to first to double Gomez off.
IN THE LIGHTS
Kansas City’s five-run inning came together after George Springer had trouble reading Cain’s sinking flyball in the new LED lights the Astros installed at Minute Maid Park this season. Cain was credited with a single on the play that would have been the third out of the inning.
“Oh yeah, they’re tough,” Springer said of the lights. “It’s bright, it’s not easy to see the ball. It cost us a game today.”
Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez (1-0) starts the first game of a three-game series at Oakland on Friday night. Volquez struck out 10 in his last start Sunday against Minnesota.
Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (1-1) makes his first home start of the year Friday when Houston starts a three-game series against the Tigers. Keuchel will look to rebound from his last start Sunday, when he allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings with six walks. He has walked 10 in two starts this season.