Matt Dominguez launched a three-run home run in the fourth inning that proved to be the difference as the Houston Astros topped the Kansas City Royals, 6-5, in the opener of a three-game set from Minute Maid Park.
Dominguez and Jimmy Paredes had two hits apiece to pace Houston, which won for the third time in five tries after dropping six in a row. Jason Castro added his fourth homer of the season.
Jose Veras saved it with a perfect ninth for Dallas Keuchel (1-1), who yielded four runs on nine hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings.
"They're always great, so it's nothing new," Keuchel said of the defense behind him. "I have faith in them any time. I try to get as many ground balls as possible, that's my goal."
Jeremy Guthrie (5-2) absorbed his second consecutive loss after giving up all six runs on eight hits in five innings.
"He battled his command," said Royals manager Ned Yost about Guthrie. "He was really struggling with his arm spot and he struggled at times to get the ball down."
After Miguel Tejada delivered a three-run shot of his own in the top half of the fourth for Kansas City, Houston responded when Carlos Pena drew a one-out walk and Paredes followed with a single to put two on for Dominguez, whose shot to left put the home team in front, 6-4.
Jeff Francoeur, who along with Eric Hosmer had three hits, doubled in a run in the eighth to bring KC to within 6-5, but Hector Ambriz got Tejada to ground out and Elliot Johnson to fly out to left to avoid further damage.
Houston broke a 1-1 tie in the home half of the third. After Marwin Gonzalez singled and took second on Robbie Grossman's sacrifice bunt, he advanced to third when Johnson mishandled a pick-off attempt at second base. Jose Altuve sent a sacrifice fly to center to score Gonzalez, then Castro launched a solo shot to left.
Johnson's bloop single over the outstretched glove of Gonzalez in the top of the second plated Hosmer for the game's first run, but Houston struck back in the home half. Chris Carter, who walked and advanced to third on Pena's double, trotted home when Paredes grounded out to second.
Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez left in the bottom of the sixth inning with discomfort in his right hip after sliding for a foul ball ... Tejada's home run was his first since July 15, 2011 ... Both teams left seven men on base.