KANSAS CITY Authentic Marshall Newhouse Jersey , Mo. — The Kansas City Royals eliminated the Houston Astros in the 2015 postseason while on their way to winning the World Series.

The two clubs have taken different paths since.

The Astros, who are the 2017 World Series champions, bring an eight-game winning streak Friday to Kansas City for the opener of a three-game series.

On the other hand, the Royals have lost nine of 10 and are in last place in the American League Central. Only the Baltimore Orioles have a worse record than the Royals (22-46). And nobody has a worse home record than the Royals, who have lost 23 of 33 at Kauffman Stadium.

“This losing is getting old,” Royals starting pitcher Jason Hammel said.

Kansas City manager Ned Yost is trying to keep the spirits of the players uplifted during trying times.

“It’s easier when you’ve got guys where winning and competitiveness is ingrained in their character,” Yost said. “You just don’t take a loser and make him a winner. Our scouting department, our player development people have drafted winners, and when things are going rough they continue to battle, they continue to fight, they continue to compete.”

There are a few leftovers from the 2015 championship club. That includes Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez Authentic Marquis Haynes Jersey , Kelvin Herrera and Alcides Escobar.

“It’s been fun to watch our veteran guys to continue to push and support and compete their tail off every single day,” Yost said. “Dayton (Moore, general manager) says draft winners. Get the most talented kids, but draft winners. That’s number one.

“We want kids that compete, love to play. We want guys that long to get better and understand the process of getting better. That’s what we look for. These kids, 95 out of 100, have that ingrained character trait or else they probably wouldn’t be here.”

The Astros are built for repeating. They are in a dogfight with the Seattle Mariners for first place in the AL West. The Royals are looking to 2021-22 as when they could be legitimate contenders.

In a 3-2 loss on Sunday at Oakland, Brad Keller made his third big league start. Yost used Scott Barlow, Tim Hill and Jason Adam in relief that afternoon. None of the four had ever thrown a pitch in the majors before this season.

“It’s what we have,” Yost said. “We like our young pitching.”

It is more about tomorrow than today.

“Part of this process every single day is we’re evaluating which guys are we going to move forward with,” Yost said. “We’re looking at which guys have that ability to continue to grow and get better and be part of a championship club.

“When it is all said and done, that’s what you’re looking for. You’re trying to build a championship club again. A lot of players that are going to be on the next championship club aren’t here. They’re working their way up the farm system right now.

“But we do have a pretty good little group of guys that are going to be here when that time comes. They need to continue to develop, seek consistency in their game and their command. We like what we see out of them so far.”

The Astros will start right-hander Charlie Morton Authentic Cordy Glenn Jersey , who is 7-1 with a 2.82 ERA, in the opener. He will try to become the fourth Houston starter with at least eight victories.

Morton is coming off one of the strangest no-decision lines. In his previous start against the Texas Rangers, Morton walked six and hit four batters in 3 2/3 innings but allowed only two runs (one earned).

Morton is 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA in two starts against Kansas City.

Right-hander Jakob Junis will start for the Royals. He is 5-6 with a 4.05 ERA in 13 starts. No other Kansas City starter has more than three wins. Junis has lost his last three decisions. All five of his wins have come after a Royals loss.

This will be his second career start against Houston. He got a no-decision against the Astros on June 6, 2017, although he allowed seven runs (three unearned) in 3 2/3 innings.

He is 3-4 with a 4.19 ERA in seven home starts this season.

Bartolo Colon has reached one goal he set for himself this season and is within two wins of another.

Colon earned his 244th victory, passing Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for the most by a pitcher born in the Dominican Republic, and the Texas Rangers beat the skidding Kansas City Royals 6-3 on Monday night.

Adrian Beltre hit a three-run homer for the Rangers, who won their third straight game. The 45-year-old Colon (4-4) allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings to break a tie with Marichal on the career wins chart.

Only right-hander Dennis Martinez has more victories among pitchers from Latin America. Martinez, a native of Nicaragua, won 245 games in the majors.

”Now that I’ve won the 244, I see that it’s close to Dennis Martinez, but with health and enough time, I’m ready to be able to pass him and be the first Latin with more wins Authentic Preston Brown Jersey ,” Colon said through a translator. ”I feel happy, of course, to pass a Hall of Famer, the first Dominican in the Hall of Fame.”

The Royals have lost seven straight and 13 of 14. They’ve dropped 27 of 37 games at Kauffman Stadium, the worst home record in the majors. Kansas City is 2-14 in June, having been outscored 95-35.

Colon was 1-3 with a 9.51 ERA in his five previous starts. Kansas City loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but the portly and popular right-hander affectionately nicknamed Big Sexy got out of the inning when Hunter Dozier grounded into a double play.

”They’ve wanted to get this win for him for some time now,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. ”It’s just incredible to watch. He’s such a humble guy. No real fanfare whatsoever. Kind of just a great humility. But, these guys fought hard for him and were able to get him some runs and he fought hard for it tonight.”

Keona Kela tossed a spotless ninth for his 16th save in 16 chances.

Beltre homered in the third off Ian Kennedy, with Elvis Andrus and Nomar Mazara aboard, to give the Rangers a 5-0 advantage. Mazara had three hits.

Kennedy (1-7) is 1-13 in his last 28 home starts. He is winless in 13 starts since an April 7 victory at Cleveland.

The right-hander gave up a home run to Shin-Soo Choo on his fourth pitch, a drive that just cleared the Royals’ right-field bullpen fence. Choo reached base five times, including a double and three walks.

Kennedy yielded five runs and four hits Authentic Chad Thomas Jersey , two of them homers. He walked three.

”Just one really bad inning and it cost us the game,” Kennedy said. ”One pitch, I hung a curveball and the three-run homer was the big swing and it cost us the game. I felt like I pitched better than the line. I really felt like we were going to come back and win.”

Adalberto Mondesi had an RBI double in the Kansas City third and scored on Mike Moustakas’ sacrifice fly.

Rosel Herrera had a run-scoring triple in the fourth for his first extra-base hit and RBI, trimming the lead to 5-3.

Delino DeShields‘ bunt single in the eighth scored Jurickson Profar for the final Texas run.

HERRERA TRADED

Just before the game, Royals manager Ned Yost broke the news to closer Kelvin Herrera that he had been traded to the Washington Nationals for three minor league prospects.

”It was one that was a little emotional,” Yost said of the conversation. ”I’ve seen him throw every pitch he’s ever thrown in the big leagues. I’ve seen him come up as a rookie and be a part of one of the best bullpens (with Wade Davis and Greg Holland) in recent history, to be an All-Star and a world champion. We knew this day was coming someday down the road. It’s a chance for him to go play for a winner.”

STRUGGLING

Royals SS Alcides Escobar is in a 3-for-45 drought in his past 12 games.

ROSTER MOVES

Rangers: Andrus was activated after missing 59 games with a broken right elbow. RHP Ricardo Rodriguez was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock, where he had allowed one unearned run in 13 1/3 innings. C Jose Trevino was optioned to Double-A Frisco after hitting a game-ending, two-run single in the ninth on Sunday. RHP Deck McGuire was designated for assignment.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: Whit Merrifield was in the lineup as the designated hitter after leaving in the second inning Sunday with a bruised left knee after fouling a pitch off his leg.

UP NEXT

Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels (3-6, 3.69 ERA) starts Tuesday night at Kansas City.

Royals: RHP Jason Hammel (2-7, 4.89) is winless in his last eight home starts.