KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The losing slog continued for the Royals on Sunday. Their 7-4 loss to the Houston Astros kept streaks alive for both teams.
The Royals losing skid reached six games with their June record falling to 2-13; the Astros own an 11-game winning streak.
The eighth inning proved decisive.
The Royals owned a 4-3 lead. Starter Brad Keller had pitched six strong innings and Kevin McCarthy set down the Astros in order in the seventh.
But Brandon Maurer, summoned from Class AAA Omaha on Friday, surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced, Carlos Correa.
The next four Astros hitters recorded hits and the lead swelled to 6-4.
Until the eighth, a two-run homer in the third inning by Hunter Dozier loomed as the game’s biggest moment. The shot off starter Lance McCullers Jr. gave the Royals a 4-2 lead.
The blast scored Salvador Perez, who had singled, and saved an inning for the Royals, who had fallen victim to a superb defensive play.
Mike Moustakas was on second and attempted to score when Perez singled sharply to left.
The throw from Marwin Gonzalez was a one-hop perfecto. Home plate umpire John Tumpane ruled Moustakas out, and the Royals challenged.
But after a replay review, the called stood. Moustakas couldn’t believe it, argued from the dugout and was ejected. That brought out an agitated Ned Yost. He gave Tumpane an earful but wasn’t tossed.
Later in the game, pitcher Danny Duffy also was ejected by Tumpane for arguing from the dugout.
Dozier followed Perez with his third home run this season, and when he crossed home plate, a Royals streak of 10 games scoring three or fewer runs had ended.
For the second straight game, the Astros pushed across two first-inning runs, but unlike Saturday’s game, the Royals responded immediately.
Alex Gordon, hitting second in the lineup for the first time this season, draw a four-pitch walk, and Moustakas followed with a base on balls.
Perez roped a single to left to load the bases, and the Royals then caught a break.
Dozier’s ground ball to third baseman Alex Bregman seemed destined for a step-on-bag-throw-to-first double play.
But Bregman came home with the throw that was low and mishandled by catcher Brian McCann, allowing Gordon to score.
Alcides Escobar followed with a short grounder to the left side for a fielder’s choice that brought home Moustakas and made it 2-2.
The Royals had made a series of roster moves after Saturday’s loss, and one player called up, infielder Adalberto Mondesi, saw action sooner than expected.
With two outs in the second inning, Whit Merrifield fouled a pitch off his left knee and left the game. Mondesi entered, inherited a 0-1 count and swung and missed the next two pitches. He remained in the game at second base.
Another player just summoned from Omaha, Rosell Hererra, entered the game for Moustakas as the designated hitter.