Strong McCullers start, Royals shaky 4th inning, give Astros 6-3 exhibition win

The Houston Astros used a pair of 4th inning home runs, and a productive start from veteran right-hander Lance McCullers Jr., for a 6-3 exhibition victory over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium.

An untimely error in the fateful fourth inning by Royals third baseman Maikel Franco opened the door for Houston to jump on Royals starter Mike Montgomery, with outfielder Josh Reddick hammering a two-run homer, followed by a two-run shot by former Royal catcher Martin Maldonado.  Those long balls gave the Astros a 5-0 lead.

McCullers, coming off of Tommy John surgery that shelved him for the entire 2019 season, threw 75 pitches, and gave up only a fourth-inning solo shot to Kansas City All-Star catcher Salvador Perez.  He went five innings and gave up four hits.  He is expected to face the Seattle Mariners on Saturday in his first regular season action in nearly two years.

Royals center fielder Bubba Starling smashed a two-run homer to left in the bottom of the eighth inning to complete the Royals scoring.  The game was broadcast locally on KTTN AM 1600 and KTTN FM 92.3.

Photo credit – Jamie Squire / Getty Images / Kansas City, MO