KANSAS CITY (AP) — Next comes the difficult part of the schedule for the Kansas City Royals.
Chris Carter hit two home runs, George Springer set a rookie club record for homers in a month and the Houston Astros beat the Royals 9-3 Wednesday for their fifth straight win.
The Astros, with the worst record in the AL, won three times in Kansas City for their first sweep of the season. Houston’s winning streak is its longest since a six-game string that ended last June 3.
“Yes, it’s a little bit embarrassing,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Plain and simple, they outplayed us.”
The Royals have lost four in a row, seven of nine and dropped a season-worst four-games below .500.
In the next 12 days, the Royals play four at Toronto, four against St. Louis and four against the New York Yankees.
“We’ve got a team that is underperforming offensively,” Yost said. “When they start to perform to their level is when we are going to start producing wins and getting on a bit of a run. You got to fight through it, and stay calm. You just look for solutions and answers to problems.”
Carter, been benched the previous three games with a .192 batting average, homered to lead off the fifth. He hit a three-run homer in sixth off reliever Louis Coleman for his fourth career multihomer game and his first this season.
Springer homered off Danny Duffy (2-5) in the first for his ninth home run in May. Glenn Davis held the Astros’ rookie record with eight home runs in September 1985.
Springer also walked twice and was hit by a pitch.
Carlos Corporan had three hits with a walk. He drove in a run as the Astros outscored the Royals 21-5 in the series.
“There is not one man in the lineup that’s hitting the ball well,” said Royals designated hitter Billy Butler, who grounded out four times. “We’re just cold.”
Jarred Cosart (4-4) gave up one earned run and four hits in five innings.
Duffy allowed six runs on seven hits and five walks in four-plus innings. The first four Royals pitchers combined to walk 10, which was a season high.
“It’s a very frustrating outing,” Duffy said. “I was reaching back and getting down through it, but I made a comparison that it’s like trying to throw the ball through a pool. It happens to everyone.”
“I just made horrible pitches to guys who have some pop. My command today was hogwash. That was one of the worst outings I’ve had in a long time. I’ll just chalk it up to a bad day. I didn’t have any pain. I just wasn’t there.”
Brett Hayes singled in the Kansas City fifth to snap an 0-for-27 skid to begin the season. He homered in the seventh, the Royals’ first home run in nine games.
NOTES: Houston 2B Jose Altuve dropped Eric Hosmer’s popup to shallow right in the sixth inning for his first error of the season. That ended an Astros’ record of 88 errorless games by a second baseman. Altuve also had a single and tops the majors with 73 hits. … Butler is in a 2-for-22 funk, tumbling his average to .235 with one home run. … Royals LF Alex Gordon batted third for the first time this season and extended his hitting streak to six games with a first-inning single. … Royals 3B Danny Valencia missed his fourth straight game with a sore left wrist.