Astros aim to avoid sweep by Royals

( - Scott Feldman tries to help the Houston Astros avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals Thursday at Minute Maid Park.

Feldman, who signed a 3-year, $30 million deal with the Astros this offseason, has been everything the team could have hoped for in the early going, posting a 2-0 mark to go along with a minuscule 0.44 ERA.

The 31-year-old right-hander, who had spent time last week on the bereavement list following the death of his father, was terrific on Friday versus Texas, but had nothing to show for it despite giving up two runs over seven scoreless innings in a no-decision.

"I just always shoot for the same goals, try to throw as many innings as I can and keep the runs off the board," Feldman said. "Really just try to do the same stuff, just mix up all the pitches and get on the same page with (Jason) Castro or (Carlos) Corporan or whoever is catching."

Feldman has faced the Royals 15 times (8 starts) and is 4-2 with a 3.12 ERA.

Kansas City, meanwhile, will counter with righty James Shields, who is still searching for his first win and is coming off an awful showing his last time out. Shields gave up seven runs in a loss to Minnesota on Saturday, although just one of them was earned, as he fell to 0-2 to go along with a 2.37 ERA.

"Anytime you have 60-something pitches after two, it's kind of hit or miss, but it's my job to keep going and try to go as deep as I can," Shields said. "I guess that was a good job by me, but overall, I wasn't too pleased with my outing."

Shields is 1-1 in three starts versus the Astros with a 1.96 ERA.

Kansas City beat the Astros for the fifth straight time on Wednesday, as Mike Moustakas' 11th inning home run carried the Royals to a 6-4 win.

Moustakas smacked a 2-1 pitch from Jerome Williams (0-1) over the wall in right field. Jarrod Dyson then singled, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Omar Infante's ground ball to shortstop. The throw home from Marwin Gonzalez was a tad late and Castro barely missed the sweep tag.

"It felt great," said Moustakas. "It's a big win for us. Any time you can get a win on the road it's a big win. We played a great game today."

Danny Valencia homered and Salvador Perez had a two-run single for the Royals, who banged out 13 hits.

Castro and Marc Krauss went deep for the Astros, who have lost three in a row and seven of their last nine games. Top prospect George Springer went 1-for-5 in his major league debut.

The Royals have won eight of their last 10 against the Astros.