- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 7, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - No Dallas, no win for Houston.

Jason Vargas tossed five solid innings for his eighth victory, Cheslor Cuthbert drove in three runs and the Kansas City Royals defeated the Astros 7-5 on Wednesday night after Houston ace Dallas Keuchel was a late scratch with an illness.

That cancelled the anticipated pitching duel between Vargas and Keuchel, who have the two best ERAs in the majors. A few minutes before the game was to start, Astros manager A.J. Hinch told Royals manager Ned Yost that Keuchel would not be starting.

“A.J. said he’s been sick and throwing up,” Yost said. “(I thought) OK, I’m glad we don’t have to face him.”

Hinch said Keuchel had been “sick for the last couple of days.”

“He didn’t feel great coming in,” Hinch said. “As he started his throwing program in the bullpen, a couple of things happened. One, he didn’t feel great. Two, he didn’t look great to the coaches, so we scratched him. We found out as guys were finishing up their warmups.

“He went back to the hotel. He’s had some problems. He’s lost a little bit of weight over the last few days. He hasn’t felt a ton of energy.”

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.

“Like 15 minutes before,” Diaz said through an interpreter of when he learned he was starting. “So there wasn’t much time when they told me I was going to start.”

Vargas (8-3), who pitched a shutout against Cleveland in his previous start, allowed two runs on Brian McCann’s home run and RBI single. 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.

“I felt like we made good pitches when situations were really key,” Vargas said. “They are where they’re at in their division for a reason. They’re a good ballclub.”

Cuthbert had an RBI double in the second and a two-run single in the fifth. Alcides Escobar had a pair of RBI singles.

McCann’s homer came in the second inning, and his fourth-inning single scored Carlos Beltran, who had doubled. It was Beltran’s 549th career double, moving him one past Alex Rodriguez and into a tie with Chipper Jones for 29th place on baseball’s career list.

The Astros scored three runs in eighth to cut the Royals‘ lead to two when Jake Marisnick singled in a run and Escobar’s fielding miscue with the bases loaded allowed two more runs to score.

Kelvin Herrera worked the ninth for his 13th save in 15 opportunities, striking out three and allowing a single to McCann, his fourth hit.

ROYALS PROMOTE TORRES

The Royals made four roster moves, including recalling IF Ramon Torres, who they signed as a 16-year-old in 2009 out of the Dominican Republic. Torres, who was hitting .327 in 53 games with Triple-A Omaha, went 2 for 4 with a double and RBI in his big league debut. The Royals also activated LHP Scott Alexander from the disabled list. They optioned RHP Kevin McCarthy, who did not allow a run in 6 1/3 innings, and OF Billy Burns to Omaha.

ASTROS OPTION GUDUAN

The Astros optioned LHP Reymin Guduan, who had pitched the past two nights, to Triple-A Fresno to make room for Diaz. Guduan had a 9.00 ERA over three innings in three relief appearances.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP Joe Musgrove (shoulder discomfort) will throw a bullpen Thursday to see if he will be available Sunday to start against the Angels. … 3B Marwin Gonzalez (bruised left hand) was not in the lineup, but was available to pinch hit.

Royals: C Salvador Perez was removed after eight innings after his left thumb was bent back while catching a sinker from Scott Alexander when Beltran struck out. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” Yost said. “He’s day-to-day.”

UP NEXT

Astros: LHP Lance McCullers, who went 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA in May, will make his second June start.

Royals: RHP Jason Hammel has limited opponents to a .220 average with runners in scoring position.

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