The Royals fell to Valdez, knocking the Astros off the top

HOUSTON — Cole Rugans allowed three hits and a pair of runs in a perfect six-inning effort, and the Kansas City Royals used two brilliant innings to beat the Houston Astros 7-5 on Friday, falling out of first place in the U.S. West.

Houston, which has lost seven of its last 10 games, falls a half game behind the Texas Rangers in the West. With a record of 39-40 at home this season, the Astros have a half-game lead over Seattle in the battle for the last wild-card spot in the American League playoffs with eight games remaining.

The Rangers beat the Mariners 8-5.

Kansas City Dominican Framper hit Valdez with four runs in the first. Bobby Witt Jr. hit an RBI triple, while Puerto Rican M.J. Melendez, Venezuelan Edward Olivers and Nick Loftin also scored runs.

The Royals scored three more times in the sixth inning.

The Ragans (7-4) struck out five and walked four. Valdez (12-11) allowed seven runs — six earned — and struck out four in 5 1/3 innings, with 10 strikeouts.

For the Royals, Venezuela’s Michael Garcia went 0-4 with a run, Olivares was 1-2 with a run and an RBI. Puerto Ricans Nelson Velasquez went 4-0 with one run, Melendez 5-1 with one run and one RBI.

For the Astros, Venezuelan Jose Altuve is 4-2. Dominicans Jeremy Pena scored a goal to make it 4-0, Yanar Diaz 1-0. Cuba’s Yordon Alvarez went 4-1 with an RBI and Jose Abreu had two runs in the 4-2. Honduran Mauricio Dubon 4-1.

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Wilmot Chandler

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