Alvarez makes big throw, hits 25th homer as Astros top Royals

Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez celebrates as he runs the bases after hitting a solo home run off Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Jackson Kowar during the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 5, 2022, in Houston. (Kevin M. Cox/AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — Yordan Alvarez threw out Hunter Dozier at the plate from just short of the warning track in left field to preserve a two-run, eighth-inning lead, then hit his 25th homer as the Houston Astros beat the Kansas City Royals 9-7 on Tuesday night.

The Astros also got homers from Jeremy Peña, Alex Bregman and Aledmys Díaz as they extended their winning streak to a major league-best eight games.

Houston trailed 4-3 entering the fifth inning before Peña homered off Zack Greinke (2-5) to tie it. Bregman’s two-run shot later in the fifth put the Astros ahead 6-4.

The eighth belonged to Alvarez.

Bryan Abreu’s bases-loaded walk of Michael A. Taylor got the Royals within two. Phil Maton took over and Nicky Lopez hit a deep flyball that Alvarez caught and fired on the fly to catcher Martin Maldonado, who tagged out Dozier for an inning-ending double play.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Alvarez homered to left-center off Jackson Kowar to make it 9-6. Chants of “M-V-P” rained down on the slugger as he rounded the bases. His 25 homers are tied with Philadelphia's Kyle Schwarber for second in the majors, four behind the Yankees' Aaron Judge.

Luis Garcia (7-5) allowed eight hits and five runs in 6 1/3 innings for his fourth straight win. Rafael Montero allowed a run on a groundout in the ninth before striking out the next two batters for his sixth save.

Greinke tied a season high by allowing 10 hits with six runs in five innings in his first start against Houston since signing with the Royals in the offseason. The veteran spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Astros, going to the World Series in 2019 and last year.

The Astros played a video honoring Greinke’s time in Houston while he warmed up and capped it by playing John Anderson’s “Seminole Wind,” which was his warmup music. He received a warm ovation and waved to the crowd from the bullpen.

MJ Melendez hit a solo homer off Garcia in the second and Bobby Witt Jr. connected off him for a two-run shot in the third. It was the third home run of the series for Melendez, who went deep twice in the series opener on Monday.

Díaz hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Kowar.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: LHP Daniel Lynch (left index finger blister) is scheduled to make his first rehabilitation start for Triple-A Omaha Wednesday.

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr., who has been out all season with a forearm injury, threw another live batting practice session Tuesday. He threw about 30 pitches and manager Dusty Baker said he will do that a couple more times before moving to simulated games.

CLIMBING THE CHARTS

Baker tied Walter Alston for ninth all-time among managers with 2,040 career wins.

UP NEXT

Houston’s Cristian Javier (6-3, 2.58 ERA), who has struck out 27 batters combined in his last two starts, opposes Brad Keller (3-9, 4.24) when the four-game series continues Wednesday night.

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