HOUSTON — The Royals needed any kind of a spark, and they got that from rookie Rosell Herrera on Friday night.
After making a sensational catch in the eighth inning to rob Alex Bregman of a home run, Herrera smashed an RBI triple in the ninth off Ken Giles and the Royals hung on for a 1-0 win at Minute Maid Park.
The victory snapped a nine-game losing streak for the Royals, who came in just 2-16 in the month of June.
Adalberto Mondesi led off the ninth with a single and stole second. Mondesi went to third on a flyout to right by Whit Merrifield.
Herrera, acquired off waivers from the Reds earlier this month, then ripped a 3-1 fastball deep into right-center.
“That was very fun for me, not only for me, but for my teammates because we played really good defense today all the way around,” Herrera said. “We felt we competed in that game, we competed a lot today. That’s why we made the right play at the right time and we won the game.”
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy was on top of his game, throwing six scoreless innings. Duffy gave up just two hits, walked four and struck out seven.
“Rosie … he’s a stud,” Duffy said of Herrera. “I’m a big fan of that kid. As long as he keeps playing like that, he’s going to have a spot here. He had a big game. …
“I can’t harp on Rosie enough — they gotta start buying his jerseys back in Kansas City as hard as he plays. Every pitch that guy is competing. He has a really bright future. We got a steal.”
Left-hander Tim Hill recorded his first Major League save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
“It was pretty incredible. The emotions going out there was a lot. I just kept telling myself, ‘Same old thing. Same old thing. Just go out there and get three outs.’ It wasn’t that easy, though, as far as the mental part.”
Said manager Ned Yost of Hill, “He did great, 1-2-3, what more can you ask for? The situation was set up perfectly for him: Switch-hitter, two lefties and we had [Wily Peralta] ready to come in to face [George Springer] if one of the three guys got on. Timmy took care of it.”