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Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch watched his team load the bases in front of hot-hitting Evan Gattis Eric Kendricks Jersey , and all he wanted was the big designated hitter to send a drive to the outfield and keep the line moving.

Hinch had to settle for one that cleared the fence.

Cleared the bases, too.

Gattis crushed a go-ahead grand slam in the sixth inning Friday night, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa also went deep, and the Astros rolled past the Kansas City Royals 7-3 for their ninth straight win.

”We’re shaking hands after a lot of his at-bats,” Hinch said of Gattis, who has five homers in the first eight games of the Astros’ road trip. ”When guys are hot, there’s a ton of energy and a ton of fun.”

Charlie Morton (8-1) overcame another bout of wildness, at one point walking three straight batters, to last six innings for Houston. He allowed four hits and four walks while striking out nine.

Brad Peacock, Tony Sipp and Collin McHugh each contributed a scoreless inning in relief to wrap up the Astros’ latest win. All but one during their streak has come away from Minute Maid Park.

”I think our guys are just methodically going through their days,” Hinch said. ”This is a long road trip and it’s a lot more fun when you’re winning.”

The Royals, meanwhile, have lost four straight and 10 of 11.

Jakob Junis (5-7) served up all three Houston homers, getting tagged for six runs on seven hits and a walk. It was his fourth straight loss JK Scott Jersey , his last win coming against the New York Yankees on May 18.

”We were putting some really good swings on it. We were hitting some balls hard,” Morton said with a grin. ”Really, I was just waiting for the dam to break.”

The Royals gave Junis some support early, jumping ahead 2-0 in the third on a two-out double by Mike Moustakas. It was a buoying at-bat considering the meek-hitting Kansas City lineup managed a single run in getting swept by Cincinnati during a two-game set this week.

It appeared the lead might stand, too, the way Junis breezed through the first three innings.

Bregman changed all that with his ninth homer of the season, a shot that just skirted the left-field foul pole. Correa added his 455-foot home run two batters later to tie the game.

Morton’s wildness allowed the Royals to regain the lead in the fifth, but Junis coughed it back up in the sixth. He gave up three straight one-out singles to load the bases for Gattis, whose soaring, 405-foot grand slam was the second of his career and third by the Astros this season.

It was also the second slam permitted by the Royals in their last two games.

”I was hoping we would get either a flyout or a mishit. I didn’t think I left it right over the plate,” Junis said. ”I thought it was up and away. He just put a good swing on it.”

ASTROS MOVES

Houston recalled 3B Tyler White from Triple-A Fresno and placed LHP Reymin Guduan on the paternity leave list. White was hitting .338 with 13 homers and a .444 on-base percentage, the second-highest in all of Triple-A. Guduan can miss no more than three games while on the paternity list.

ROYALS MOVES

Kansas City selected the contract of RHP Brandon Maurer from Triple-A Omaha and optioned RHP Jason Adam to the same club. Maurer was 0-2 with a 12.46 ERA for the Royals before he was sent outright to the minor league club on May 3. He’s worked 11 straight scoreless appearances at Omaha.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros RHP Joe Smith (elbow inflammation) rejoined the team, and Hinch said the reliever is ”pain free and the next step is to initiate a throwing program.” That could happen by the end of the weekend.

Royals OF Jorge Soler left after stumbling out of the batter’s box in the sixth. He was taken for X-rays that revealed a broken left foot. ”It will be awhile when your feet are hurt,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”They’re going to give it a CT scan or whatever. We’ll have a better idea. X-rays showed a positive break. We don’t think it’s a surgical thing right now. The CT scan will give us more of a look.”

UP NEXT

Struggling LHP Dallas Keuchel (3-8 Randall Cobb Jersey , 4.45 ERA) starts for the Astros and LHP Danny Duffy (3-6, 5.28) gets the nod for the Royals for a Saturday matinee with temperatures expected to approach triple digits.




BOSTON — Jon Cooper was asked after Game 3 what his team has done to turn around its series with the Boston Bruins.

“These guys, they just find a way,” the Tampa Bay coach said after a 4-1 road victory gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal. “I guess in the end, they’re putting the team first, putting the team before self. That’s what’s going on right now.”

The Lightning, who captured the Atlantic Division and overall conference record by a point over the Bruins in the final days of the regular season, surrendered home-ice advantage with a 6-2 loss in the opener. But Wednesday night, they grabbed it back and can now establish a stranglehold on the series with a win in Game 4 on Friday night.

Wednesday was the 55th time the franchise played at TD Garden — and became just its 10th win. But that historical stat seems to mean nothing to this team, which is now 6-2 in the playoffs.

“I think the same thing we did the game before and what I felt a lot of the game before that,” Cooper said of the Game 3 performance. “We’re in a playoff series and we’re playing like that. We’re skating. We’re physically engaged. They’re just playing responsible. That’s what they’re doing.”

Ondrej Palat, who scored twice in the first 3:19 of the game, was not on the ice for practice at the Bruins’ practice facility Thursday, but there was no report. Ryan Callahan Aaron Rodgers Jersey , who has played such a strong two-way game in the series, took Palat’s spot on the power play in practice.

Palat’s early outburst marked the fastest two goals by the same player at the start of a playoff game since 1996.

Boston’s Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk rested on “maintenance days” Thursday and are apparently not totally healthy. Coach Bruce Cassidy said they will be evaluated Friday morning.

There was also a very good chance that rookie Ryan Donato could be among those added to the mix as Cassidy looks to “tinker” with his lineup.

“They were maintenance days, so we’ll see how they are in the morning. I assume they’ll be fine tomorrow (for Game 4), but we’ll see then,” Cassidy said. “We’ll assess them in the morning, and we’ll probably tinker (with the lineup), but I’m not going to tell you who is going in or out now because we’ve got to get the healthy guys sorted out first, and then we’ll go from there.”

After Wednesday’s game, the coach said, “We need to defend better, and part of that is intensity. My estimation, urgency, pick you word. We didn’t have it. You’ve got to manage the puck first, and then once you don’t have it anymore Chad Henne Jersey , you’ve got to have a certain level of structure and urgency to get it back, and we didn’t.

“As the game went along, I think the will is there with the group; I don’t doubt that. They’re trying to be physical; they’re trying to play hard, but at the end of the day we made some mistakes in front of our net.

“We’ve got to get back to, OK, what made us successful and play smart hockey, and the intensity will come. The group has a lot of will. I think we put one in front of the other, forgot to play a little bit.”

Yanni Gourde became the second Lightning player to enjoy the birth of a child during the playoffs. Gourde’s baby girl was born Tuesday. He made it to Boston in time for the Wednesday morning skate and had an assist in the win.

Steven Stamkos scored his first goal of the series Wednesday. It was into an empty net, but the Lightning have to feel good about their best player and captain hitting the score sheet. It was his second goal in eight playoff games, but he has five assists.

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Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:47 pm