- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Edinson Volquez has made 234 starts in the majors - none as bad as Friday night.

George Springer hit a grand slam and a triple in Houston’s nine-run first inning against Volquez, and the Astros routed the Kansas City Royals 13-4 on Friday night. Springer, who finished with five RBIs, tops the majors with three grand slams this season.

Volquez gave up 12 runs, 11 earned, and eight hits and walked three.

“He just wasn’t very good,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He gave up the triple, I’m thinking, ‘OK, give up the one run and we’ll be all right,’ and then, boom, next thing it’s three, then it’s five, then it’s nine. So, it was just one of those nights where really nothing was working for him.”

Volquez’s previous high allowed was nine runs in 2 1/3 innings on June 7, 2013, while with San Diego at Colorado.

“Everything was in the middle,” Volquez said. “All of my pitches came back to the middle. I’ve been in that situation before. I don’t have to worry about that because I’ve been through that before and the only thing I can do is get ready for my next start.”

Volquez told pitching coach Dave Eiland before the game that he had an early indication it wouldn’t be his night.

“I was warming up and I told Dave, ‘I don’t have it, the ball isn’t moving,’” Volquez said. “He said, ‘You’re going to get it when you get in the game.’ So, I was hoping to get the movement in the real game. I didn’t get it.”

Colby Rasmus had four hits, including a homer in the eighth, scored three runs and drove in two. Marwin Gonzalez, Carlos Gomez, Jason Castro and Rasmus all had RBI singles in the first off Volquez (7-7), who retired only three of the 15 batters he faced with 12 scoring, ballooning his ERA more than a full run to 5.15.

“The whole story of the game is the first couple of innings and the quality of at-bats we put up,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “We did a lot of things right that first inning and took advantage of a mistake, a lot of singles and a big hit by George obviously to separate the game. We did a good job of tacking on run after run after run.”

The last time the Astros scored nine in the first inning was July 10, 2003, against Cincinnati. The Royals last allowed nine or more in the first on Sept. 23, 2006, when Detroit scored 10.

The huge lead made it easy for Dallas Keuchel, the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner, to pick up only his second victory since April 15 and first since May 28.

Keuchel (4-9) gave up four runs and 11 hits, including home runs to Escobar and Cheslor Cuthbert. Escobar’s homer was his first since Aug. 21.

Volquez was removed in the second when he walked Carlos Correa and Gomez, sandwiched around Rasmus’ single to load the bases without getting an out. All three wound up scoring off reliever Dillon Gee, but the runs were charged to Volquez.

MONDESI RETURNING

IF Raul Mondesi, who became the first player to make his major league debut in the World Series when he struck out as a pinch hitter in Game 3 at Citi Field, will begin a rehab assignment Saturday with Single-A Wilmington. Mondesi, the Royals’ top prospect, was suspended 50 games on May 10 after testing positive for Clenbuterol, a performance-enhancing drug. He is scheduled to return July 4 to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: 3B Luis Valbuena left after one inning with left lower back tightness.

Royals: LF Alex Gordon (broken right wrist) played in his fifth rehab game Friday with Triple-A Omaha and is close to coming off the disabled list. “Alex is doing fine,” Yost said. “We’ll re-evaluate after tonight. We’ll be anxious to get him back.”

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Mike Fiers (5-3) is 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in two career starts against the Royals.

Royals: RHP Chris Young (2-6) leads the majors with 19 home runs allowed.

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