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Bixler Leads Houston Over Kansas City 9-7

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Brian Bixler receives a high-five from Justin Maxwell (44) after hitting a home run. (credit:  Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Brian Bixler receives a high-five from Justin Maxwell (44) after hitting a home run. (credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (AP) – It was a big moment for Houston’s Brian Bixler when he hit his first career home run in the first inning on Monday night.

Perhaps more important than that shot, though, was his two-run double in the eighth inning that helped pad Houston’s lead and allowed the Astros to hold on for a 9-7 win after a late rally by Kansas City.

Bixler drove in a career-high three runs on three hits and Justin Maxwell and Brian Bogusevic also homered for the Astros.

“It was a good way to start the day off,” Bixler said of his homer. “I was happy to continue that and put it together for the whole day. So it worked out well.”

J.A. Happ (5-7) yielded four hits and two runs in 6-plus innings to break a four-game losing streak. It was his first start since allowing 11 hits and eight runs – both career highs – in Houston’s 10-0 loss to San Francisco in which Matt Cain threw a perfect game.

Maxwell hit a two-run homer after Bogusevic’s solo shot in Houston’s five-run eighth inning.

Jonathan Sanchez (1-3) allowed six hits and four runs in six innings in his second start since a month-long stint on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left biceps.

Things got dicey for the Astros in the ninth with a tough outing by closer Brett Myers, who allowed four consecutive singles with one out to make it 9-3. The Royals got another run on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Mitch Maier and Yuniesky Betancourt‘s bases-loaded single scored two more.

Billy Butler had an RBI single to get Kansas City within 9-7 and bring loud boos from the crowd. The eighth hit of the inning, a single by Jeff Francoeur, chased Myers, bringing in Xavier Cedeno, who retired Mike Moustakas to get his first career save.

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