KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Scott Podsednik snapped a long power drought with a big home run. Anthony Lerew overcame early nerves for a solid return to the majors. Houston couldn't get anything going after getting off to a great start.
So many storylines, all of them overshadowed by a bizarre reversed call by the umpires that had the feel of a playground do-over but little effect on the outcome.
Podsednik hit a three-run homer, Lerew pitched six effective innings and the Kansas City Royals beat the Astros 5-2 Thursday night in a game that featured a play no one on either side could remember seeing before.
"I don't think anyone's seen a play like that," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
It happened in the fifth inning.
With Mike Aviles on second and one out, Yuniesky Betancourt hit a soft liner that shortstop Geoff Blum appeared to trap. Second-base umpire Mike Everitt missed the call, ruling the ball had been caught in the air, and Blum stepped on second to double off Aviles for what appeared to be the final out.
Not so fast.
Yost came trotting out of the dugout to argue, but the umpires were already gathering before he got there. After deliberating for several minutes, they overturned the call and brought both teams back out to the field. Aviles was placed on third, and Betancourt was ruled out even though Blum never threw to first, as the umpires ruled that it was assumed that Betancourt would have been thrown out.
"Geoff was charging the ball, and we didn't have a good angle to see it," crew chief Tim McClelland said. "The only fair thing for us to do was rule it no catch, retire Betancourt and give Aviles third base. You can't assume an out at third base."
Blum was awarded an assist, and first baseman Lance Berkman got a putout despite never touching the ball because he was closest to Betancourt when the play was made. The call was similar to the rule regarding interference.
After a second round of arguing by Astros manager Brad Mills, the drama ended quickly: Brett Myers got Podsednik to line out on the next pitch, ending the inning.
The debate, though, will continue.
"To reverse a call like that opens up a huge can of worms," Mills said.
The Royals did all their damage after the chaos.
Kansas City scored four runs in the seventh inning off Myers (4-5), three on Podsednik's first homer in 144 at-bats and another on Betancourt's run-scoring single.
Victor Marte (2-0) worked a scoreless seventh and the Royals went up 5-2 in the eighth on Aviles' fielder's choice, giving closer Joakim Soria extra breathing room. Soria allowed two hits in the ninth before closing out his 16th save in 18 chances.
Some nice stuff, although none of it as interesting as the missed-call, phantom-out play that came before.
"We just wanted them to get the play right," Yost said. "They admitted they made a mistake, and that was probably in all reality the outcome we would have had if they had got the play right."
Lerew got the start after Luke Hochevar was placed on the disabled list with a strained elbow. The young right-hander was decent in a short stint in the majors last season, going 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts, and had a 2.84 ERA at Triple-A Omaha before being called up.
His return to the majors got off to a rocky start.
But after the early-game jitters were out of the way, Lerew fell into a rhythm, keeping the Astros unsettled with his cha-cha-quick footwork and syrupy off-speed pitches.
Lerew struck out five in the next three innings and didn't allow another hit until Kevin Cash's soft, one-out single in the fifth. He matched a career high with seven strikeouts and allowed two runs on three hits.
"A little nervous at first, but once I settled in and kept the ball down, it went well," Lerew said.
Myers had the Royals off balance most of the night with his deceptive changeup and even got through a return to the field after a long wait on the play in the fifth. He just couldn't finish it off in the seventh, giving up three straight singles and Podsednik's three-run homer off the back of Kansas City's bullpen to lose in his first start at Kauffman Stadium.
"I felt good today," said Myers, who allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. "A couple of dink hits there in the seventh and ultimately the homer. It's frustrating."
Warren Buffett threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He bounced it in front of the plate. ... Astros 3B coach Dave Clark was back on the field after being hit on the leg by a batted ball Wednesday night. ... Kansas City's Jose Guillen extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the eighth.
Plesac, Reyes, Luplow power Indians over White Sox 7-1
Zach Plesac tossed six strong innings and the Cleveland Indians snapped a scoring drought with a six-run fourth in a 7-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.
Cole just misses 20th reg-season win in row, Yanks beat Rays
Gerrit Cole came within one strike of earning his 20th straight regular-season win before getting pulled, and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-4 Saturday in the opener of a seven-inning doubleheader.
Early takeaways for all 15 National League teams
From Chris Paddack's improved curve to Christian Yelich's slow start, here are key scouting takeaways for how the Senior Circuit is shaping up.
Stanton and Judge each go yard in Yankees' win
Giancarlo Stanton cranks a home run to left, then later in the game Aaron Judge continues his torrid start by hitting his eighth home run of the season.
Choi's bat goes flying after whiffing on Cole's fastball
Ji-Man Choi swings through Gerrit Cole's 96 mph fastball causing the bat to helicopter and end up near first base.
MLB postponements timeline: How positive coronavirus tests have impacted the schedule
It didn't take long for the reality of the pandemic to reshuffle the restart of the 2020 baseball season. Here's a look at the past week.