Royals score early, hang on to beat Astros 7-5

Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain slides home to score on a two-run single hit by Cheslor Cuthbert during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Jason Vargas tossed five solid innings for his eighth victory, Cheslor Cuthbert drove in three runs and the Kansas City Royals defeated the Houston Astros 7-5 on Wednesday night.

The anticipated pitching duel between Vargas (8-3) and Dallas Keuchel, who have the two best ERAs in the majors, never materialized. Keuchel was a late scratch with an illness after going out to warm up.

Instead, the Astros started right-hander Dayan Diaz, who was just called up from Triple-A Fresno. Diaz (0-1) gave up three runs and four hits, including Lorenzo Cain’s solo homer, in 2 2/3 innings.

Vargas (8-3), who pitched a shutout against Cleveland in his previous start, allowed two runs on Brian McCann’s home run. He gave up six hits, a walk and hit a batter. Vargas’ ERA inched up from 2.08 to 2.18 in the win, the Royals’ second straight over the Astros.

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