James Shields hopes to put the brakes on his personal winless streak when the Kansas City Royals entertain the Houston Astros Friday in the opener of a three-game series from Kauffman Stadium.
Shields is 0-4 with a 3.25 earned run average in his last five starts and hasn't won since April 30 against his former Tampa Bay Rays teammates. He pitched well in his previous start, a 4-1 win at Texas in which he did not record a decision with seven innings of one-run ball.
The right-hander is 2-6 with a decent 2.83 ERA in 12 starts and was beaten by Houston on May 22 at Minute Maid Park, where he suffered a tough-luck loss in a 3-1 decision. Shields struck out seven batters and did not issue a walk, while holding the Astros to a pair of runs through seven innings. He is 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA in two career starts against Houston.
Kansas City needed some late-inning heroics to pull out a 7-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, as Lorenzo Cain highlighted a four-run eighth inning with a two-run homer. Eric Hosmer started the flurry with an RBI single and Billy Butler later plated a run with a double for the Royals, who have won two straight and three of five games.
"Getting the bats going tonight was definitely great for our team," said Cain. "Hopefully we can keep it going, keep scoring runs and do a great job for our pitchers."
Kansas City starter Wade Davis needed 106 pitches to get through five innings, allowing three runs -- all unearned -- on four hits and three walks. Tim Collins pitched perfectly through the seventh and eighth innings to pick up the win.
The Royals will also host Detroit on this nine-game homestand.
Houston will start a six-game road trip against Kansas City and Seattle and has won six in a row away from home.
The Astros, though, have dropped two of three games since a season-high six- game winning streak and sustained a 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday in the finale of a three-game set. J.D. Martinez had the lone RBI and Astros starter Bud Norris absorbed the loss after he allowed all three runs and nine hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one batter.
"We played well against a really good team," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
Jordan Lyles tries to get the 'Stros back into the win column when he takes the mound Friday. Lyles is 3-1 with a 4.30 earned run average in his seven starts and won the previous time out in a 5-4 triumph against the LA Angels on Sunday. He was reached for two runs and six hits over 5 2/3 innings.'
Lyles, a right-hander, defeated the Royals on May 22 with six innings of one- run ball in a 3-1 victory at Minute Maid Park. In two career starts against the Royals, Lyles is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA.
The Astros won two of three against Kansas City in that late May series.