Moustakas' snag turns things in Royals' favor
Third baseman's clutch play helps preserve win over Astros
HOUSTON -- A huge defensive play by Mike Moustakas in the ninth inning left manager Ned Yost feeling a lot better about his team's chances to pick up a win on Wednesday.
With the Royals leading, 2-1, the Astros' Chris Snyder led off with a single against closer Jonathan Broxton. Snyder was replaced by pinch-runner David Carpenter, a relief pitcher with decent speed. On a 1-1 count, pinch-hitter Matt Downs hit a sharp ground ball right at third base.
Moustakas, playing on the line to prevent extra bases, made a sliding stop and threw out Carpenter at second for the first out of the inning.
"Great play. That's a great play," Yost said. "That changes a lot of things if he doesn't make that play. To get the lead runner at second base was good, too."
Yost was a bit worried about the prospect of facing second baseman Jose Altuve, batting .313 overall, with runners in scoring position. Moustakas' play allowed the Royals to stay in double-play defense, though Altuve still singled off Broxton to put runners on the corners with one out.
Broxton then fanned Bryan Bixler and got Jordan Schafer to fly out for his 18th save and second in as many games.
Moustakas downplayed his big stop in a key situation.
"Brox made a great pitch," Moustakas said. "I just tried to get in front of it."
Perez collects four hits in latest rehab start
HOUSTON -- Catcher Salvador Perez, on a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Omaha, had four singles in four at-bats on Wednesday, boosting his average to .340 in 11 rehab games.
The Storm Chasers lost to Memphis, 13-9.
Perez, 22, who had left knee surgery in March and has missed all of the regular season, also caught for the Storm Chasers on Tuesday night. Catching in a day game after a night game is a good sign that Perez will soon be back with the Royals.
Manager Ned Yost said he didn't have expectations to get Perez back for this weekend's home I-70 Series against the Cardinals. Last year, Perez batted .331/,361/.473 with three homers and 21 RBIs in 148 at-bats.
Perez signed a five-year, $7 million deal this offseason.
Royals right-hander Felipe Paulino was set to begin a Minor League rehab assignment Wednesday night with Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Moustakas and Alex Gordon have been hot at the plate. Moustakas batted .346 on the Royals' six-game road trip, and Gordon is batting .349 with 10 runs in his last 10 games.
The Royals are 7-1 in rubber games on the road this season after Wednesday's 2-1 victory.
Since the end of their 12-game losing streak on April 25, the Royals are 11-3 in one-run decisions.
The Royals are 8-7 in Interleague Play with three remaining games this weekend against the Cardinals at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City hasn't finished with a winning Interleague slate since going 13-5 in 2008.
Clark Goble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.