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Ventura pitches Royals past Astros in rubber game
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Royals defeat Astros, 5-1. - photo by

KANSAS CITY— Omar Infante and Cheslor Cuthbert each came through with two-out, two-run hits in the first inning and Yordano Ventura delivered seven strong innings to lift the Royals to a 5-1 win over the Astros on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals (59-38) took two of three in the weekend series while scoring all five runs in the opening two innings against American League All-Star starter Dallas Keuchel, who came in with an AL-best 2.12 ERA. The five runs allowed equaled the highest total Keuchel has surrendered this season.

“It’s about as good a weekend as it can get,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We got the walk-off win Saturday, the win today, the Johnny Cueto deal today. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

The Astros (55-45) received an RBI single from Colby Rasmus in the second, but could do nothing more against Ventura, who had been optioned to Triple-A Omaha earlier in the week, only to be immediately brought back because of an elbow injury sustained by Jason Vargas.

Ventura (5-7) got through seven innings with 97 pitches and won for the first time since July 9. He allowed six hits, struck out five and didn’t issue a walk. Keuchel (12-5) went 6 2/3 innings and allowed a season-high 10 hits.

The Astros finished 4-2 against the Royals in the regular season and know what to expect should the teams go on to meet in the postseason.

“They’re one of the best teams in baseball,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “They have a great record. They are the defending [AL] champions and everybody is chasing them. I’m happy with how we played against them. We match up pretty well.”