Gurriel hits grand slam, Astros rout Royals 11-3

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jason Hammel, right, talks with catcher Drew Butera, center, and pitching coach Cal Eldred, left, during the second inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Sunday, June 24, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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HOUSTON (AP) -- Yuli Gurriel hit a grand slam in Houston's eight-run second inning, helping Gerrit Cole and the Astros beat the Kansas City Royals 11-3 on Sunday.

Gurriel finished with three hits as the AL West-leading Astros won for the 15th time in 17 games. Jose Altuve drove in two runs and scored twice, and Evan Gattis connected for a pinch-hit homer.

Cole (9-1) struck out eight while pitching five innings of one-run ball. The right-hander has struck out at least eight in 12 of his 16 starts.

Houston loaded the bases with one out in the second, and Tony Kemp brought home the first run when he reached on catcher's interference on Drew Butera. George Springer then lined out, but Alex Bregman walked, Altuve hit a two-run single and Carlos Correa walked before Gurriel connected against Jason Hammel (2-9) for his second career grand slam.

Gurriel also hit a solo drive in Saturday's 4-3 win in 12 innings. It's the first time since July 21-22, 2017, that Gurriel has homered in back-to-back games.

Kansas City dropped to 3-18 in June. Hammel was tagged for nine runs, matching his season high, and walked five in four innings.

Lucas Duda hit his fifth homer for the Royals, and Rosell Herrera singled in a run.

TIME TO SHAVE

Bregman had been working on a mustache the last few days, but it disappeared during the game. A split-screen picture of Bregman during his at-bat in the second inning and next plate appearance in the fourth showed he had shaved at some point between the two at-bats.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: RHP Joe Smith (elbow discomfort) threw his first bullpen session since going on the disabled list. Smith threw about 30 pitches. He said he felt good and will know more of where he is at depending on how he feels on Monday.

UP NEXT

Royals: RHP Brad Keller (1-2, 2.63 ERA) faces the Angels on Monday in a make-up game. Last time out, Keller got a no-decision against Houston in a 7-4 loss on June 17. Keller allowed three runs in six innings against the Astros.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (9-2, 1.60 ERA) faces the Blue Jays on Monday. Verlander leads the American League in ERA, WHIP, opponent OPS and opponent batting average.