Pat Valaika clubbed a go-ahead, two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning to lift the Rockies past the Royals 3-2 at Kauffman Stadium. Raimel Tapia plated a run in the sixth for Colorado, which avoided a three-game sweep and snapped a four-game skid. Adam Ottavino picked up the win and Greg Holland notched his 36th save.
Whit Merrifield and Brandon Moss hit solo home runs for the Royals, who had won their previous three.
Mike Minor suffered the loss. It cost rookie starter Jake Junis a possible win. He struck out seven while allowing just one run in 5 1/3 innings.
The Royals begin a key three-game series against the AL Central-leading Indians tonight in Cleveland. Jason Vargas will start for KC, while Cleveland counters with Ryan Merritt. The Royals are 64-and-62 on the year, six games back in the division and a half-game out of the second AL wild card playoff spot.
The Royals will have the services of closer Kelvin Herrera for their big series against the Indians. He came out of Tuesday’s night’s game in the ninth inning with tightness in his right forearm. Manager Ned Yost says it’s not serious and Herrera actually would have been available to pitch yesterday if needed.