Royals' bullpen struggles to close out Astros

Royals' bullpen struggles to close out Astros

HOUSTON -- The Royals' bullpen blew a pair of one-run leads, then lost the game in the 12th inning when left-hander Matt Strahm walked in the winning run as the Astros salvaged the final game of the series with a 5-4 victory on Sunday.

But manager Ned Yost wasn't conceding afterward that his bullpen had a tough day.

"I think we were kind of unlucky the whole game," Yost said. "Both home runs they hit wouldn't have been home runs in any other park in baseball."

The first home run, a two-run shot to left by Marwin Gonzalez, came off Travis Wood in the seventh and tied the score at 3-3.

The second home run was by Jake Marisnick and it tied the score at 4- 4 in the ninth. That one came off Royals closer Kelvin Herrera.

Both home runs just made it over the wall in left and into the Crawford Boxes.

"Kelvin gave up a ball that hit on top of the fence and bounced back off the pole that's not a home run in any other park," Yost said. "I'm not saying Kelvin didn't do good. He did. He made a good pitch that didn't even clear the fence -- it hit the fence and bounced into the Crawford Boxes.

"I don't look at that as a bad outing. He was just a victim of playing in this park."

Herrera tended to agree.

"I made a good pitch, a slider," Herrera said. "It was the same pitch I got [George Springer] out with.

"But that's the advantage the hitter has in this ballpark. It happens."

Strahm came into the 12th after struggling in his first two outings this season with his command.

An infield hit, a sacrifice, an intentional walk and a fielder's choice brought up left-handed-hitting Brian McCann.

Strahm and McCann hooked up in a 10-pitch battle. Strahm finally lost him on a 3-2 fastball up, loading the bases.

Strahm also went 3-2 with Evan Gattis. Ball four was high and Springer, who led off the inning with an infield single, trotted home with the winning run.

"I just couldn't get the ball down to McCann," Strahm said. "I kept giving him chances. Couldn't get the ball down to [Gattis], either."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.