Houston Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar endured some good-natured ribbing from his teammates after pitching one of his best games of the season.
They found it funny that he was so happy about getting his first major league hit.
Hochevar pitched into the eighth inning, two relievers completed the shutout, and Billy Butler hit a solo home run to lead the Royals to a 2-0 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
One player yelled at reporters from the shower area in the clubhouse to make sure to ask him about his second-inning single. Jeff Francoeur and Butler continued to joke about it when asked about his pitching.
“Who cares about his outing, he got his first hit,” they both said one after another while chuckling.
Hochevar entered the game with nine strikeouts in 13 at-bats since 2008.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “It hasn’t been pretty at all.”
Hochevar earned his first victory since May 12. He had four losses and two no-decisions since his previous win.
Kansas City manager Ned Yost raved about his work on the mound.
“That was a tremendous ball game by Luke Hochevar,” Yost said. “He’s getting back to who he is. His three core pitches, four-seam fastball, curveball, changeup are very effective together in combination.”
Hochevar (4-7) pitched no-hit ball into the fifth inning and allowed five hits and struck out six in a season-high 7 2-3 innings.
“I wish we could have got him through it,” Yost said of the eighth inning. “But I can’t live with myself if he gives up the lead in the eighth inning with our pen.”
Hochevar said he’s made some adjustments since the beginning of the season that are starting to come together for him.
“I think it helps more changing speeds, and I’m not so one-dimensional,” he said. “Changing speeds more has helped a lot.”
Aaron Crow and closer Jonathan Broxton combined to allow no hits in the last 1 1-3 innings to complete Kansas City’s seventh shutout this season. Broxton earned his 17th save and is tied for fourth most saves in the American League.
Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez (6-5) yielded six hits and two runs in seven innings.