KANSAS CITY — There was star shortstop Carlos Correa igniting an eighth-inning rally with a homer, Tyler White coming off the bench in the eighth and hitting a key double on the first pitch, and a suddenly stingy relief corps slamming the door.
When you’re on an incredible run like the Astros, the heroes are numerous and come from every corner of the clubhouse.
Correa drove in three runs, including his game-tying leadoff homer in the eighth, and relievers Tony Sipp, Ken Giles and Hector Rondon combined to throw three hitless innings to seal the Astros’ 11th consecutive win, 7-4, over the Royals on Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
"The winning streak is great, man," Correa said. "We’re on a long road trip and away from our families for 10 days; winning every single game makes it a lot better. Hopefully we can go home and keep grinding and keep playing the way we’ve been playing."
With the win, the Astros (48-25) completed a 10-0 road trip through Texas, Oakland and Kansas City and improved to a Major League-best 29-11 on the road. The win was only the Astros’ third this season (3-21) when trailing after seven innings. They join the Indians (11-0 in 2017), A’s and Mariners (both 10-0 in 2002), Braves (10-0 in 1992), Reds (12-0 in 1957) and Yankees (14-0 in 1953) as the only clubs with unbeaten road trips of 10 or more games since 1953.
"This was incredible, just by the way we played and the way we completed games," manager AJ Hinch said. "Obviously, winning every game is incredible. We did it in a lot of different ways, so we want to keep the same intent and same mentality we’ve been playing with. It’s been pretty remarkable. It’s hard to put into words. It’s been somebody different every night. We’ve had good pitching, we’ve played good defense, we’ve rallied late, we’ve blown guys out early."
During the streak, the Astros have outscored their opponents, 81-40, and reached double-digit hits nine times, including seven games in a row. They’ve scored at least six runs in seven consecutive games, matching the third-longest streak in club history.
"Nobody knows what’s going to happen, you still have to hit a ball, but I take confidence in our lineup versus anybody," said designated hitter Evan Gattis, who’s hitting .386 with six homers and 21 RBIs during the streak.
Correa homered to left off reliever Brandon Maurer and Gattis (3-for-4) and Marwin Gonzalez added RBI hits off lefty Tim Hill to give Houston a 6-4 lead. Correa’s sacrifice fly in the ninth gave him three RBIs. The Astros were 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
"When we’re right, we keep coming at you and make you get your 27 outs," Hinch said. "Even when the game was getting towards the end and we know they have [closer Kelvin Herrera] at the back end, the game was starting to tilt in their favor a little bit, we had no quit in us. Correa hits the big home run and all of a sudden, the at-bats piled up on them."
Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. allowed four runs (two earned) and struck out nine in six innings, sending down 10 of the final 12 batters he faced, including striking out the side in the fifth inning. He said it may have been his "best stuff of the year."
"Overall, I felt like the team played really hard, I felt like I threw the ball really well and still gave us a chance to win," he said. "I really made one bad pitch [a two-run homer by Hunter Dozier in the third that put the Royals up, 4-2], and he hit it out of the park. That was really the day."
The Astros have scored 135 runs in the seventh inning or later, surpassing the Cubs (132) for most in the Major Leagues.
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Gonzalez made a 95.9-mph throw from left field, according to Statcast™, to get Mike Moustakas at the plate in the third inning. Moustakas was trying to score from second on a single by Salvador Perez. The Royals challenged the call, but the call was ruled to stand.