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KC@HOU: Moustakas' RBI single ties the game at 3

HOUSTON -- Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas wasn't about to lie. He was in a terrible slump and he knew it. He couldn't stop thinking about it.

He had reached 0-for-18 and seen his batting average tumble to .174.

Then Moustakas delivered a bases-loaded single in the eighth inning Tuesday night to tie the game and propel the Royals to a 7-3 victory over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

"Those are the situations I want to be in," Moustakas said. "It felt good [after] 0-for-whatever it was. Everybody in the dugout kept me going and it helped out a lot."

George Kottaras followed with a bases-loaded walk to score the go-ahead run and help Kansas City snap a string of four frustrating one-run losses in a row. The Royals scored four times in the inning and added another run in the ninth.

The slump was beginning to wear on Moustakas.

"Absolutely, it bothered me," Moustakas said. "You don't want to go out there and play bad. When you have those slumps, you have to battle through them. I leaned completely on my teammates the whole time to help me get through this.

"There's no getting around that. When you're not doing well, you know it. All the numbers are up there on the scoreboard right in front of you. You feel a little pressure to do good. I was able to come up tonight in a good position and get a big hit for us."

It was a sorely needed single for the Royals, who had slipped one game under .500 the night before.

"One hit's not going to completely turn everything around," Moustakas said. "But it's a big hit in a big situation."

"I was really happy for Moose to get the big base hit to tie the ballgame," manager Ned Yost said. "He's been struggling a little bit. Those are the little things that can get you going."

Yost felt confident when Kottaras followed Moustakas to the plate with the game now tied at 3.

"When he walked up there, I knew we were in pretty good shape," Yost said. "You just know in those situations he's not going to come out and [swing at bad pitches]. You better throw him strikes or he's going to take a walk.

"That's the second time he's done that. The game winning RBI. It was a huge at-bat."

Kottaras also drew a bases-loaded walk as a pinch-hitter April 25 in the 10th inning at Detroit to break a 3-3 tie en route to a Royals win.

"It's just knowing the situation and being patiently aggressive," said Kottaras, who started at catcher in place of the injured Salvador Perez. "You don't want to swing at pitches that put you behind. I went up there looking for something that I knew I could handle.

"You see what they're trying to do to the previous hitters. [Houston reliever Jose Cisnero] threw me a couple of fastballs and a changeup that made it 3-0. I was just trying to stay within myself and what I can do."

Being a backup isn't an easy role, needing to be prepared whenever your opportunities arise.

"I'm a little better at that than I was a few years ago," Kottaras said. "It comes with experience. I've been put in this situation before. Nothing prepares you like being in a game. Not playing everybody is no excuse. That's reality."

Houston starter Bud Norris threw six shutout innings before the Royals scored seven runs off the Astros bullpen.

"Tonight, we just didn't get it done," Houston manager Bo Porter said of his bullpen. "Give the Royals a lot of credit. They battled their at-bats and put balls in play and had some really good at-bats late in the game."

Kottaras emphasized how much the Royals needed a win after the four-game skid.

"It's huge," Kottaras said. "Again, we were behind and our pitching kept us in the game. Our offense definitely came around, and we put together some things in a couple of innings."

Kansas City starter Wade Davis gave up a three-run homer to Jimmy Paredes in the fourth inning and not much else. He went five innings and gave up seven hits.

"I started off really good," Davis said. "My rhythm was good. My pitches were good. The home run wasn't a bad pitch. It was a fastball up and in.

"We've had some close games [on this trip]. We could have easily been 6-1."

Four Royals relievers combined to give up just two hits and no runs in four innings. Bruce Chen (3-0) earned the win after pitching the seventh inning.

"I was entire happy with the entire pitching staff," Yost said. "Wade Davis threw the ball extremely well."

Yost held a team meeting Tuesday afternoon.

"Ned told us we're still in this thing," Moustakas said. "'Keep fighting, keep going out there.' We went at them as hard as we can for nine innings. We know something's going to turn around at some point. We were able to scratch and claw our way back into tonight's game."

Yost has been around baseball long enough to know if you keep playing well, you're going to win.

"It was just a matter of time," Yost said. "We've been swinging the bat really well with two outs. We created a lot of rallies this year with two outs. It's been a long four days."

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