Houston, TX – Luke Hochevar held Houston scoreless into the eighth inning and Billy Butler homered as Kansas City took a 2-0 decision in the middle test of a three-game interleague series.
Hochevar (4-7) scattered five hits, walked four and fanned six through 7 2/3 innings for the Royals, who have won six of eight. Jonathan Broxton turned in a scoreless ninth for his 17th save.
"It's starting to come together," said Hochevar. "The main thing is making good pitches. That's where my focus has been and that's where I plan on it staying."
Wandy Rodriguez (6-5) allowed six hits and two runs over seven full frames for the Astros, who have dropped six of eight.
Hochevar was pulled with two down in the eighth. Jed Lowrie walked with two outs and Carlos Lee hit a ball just below the home-run line in left, leaving two in scoring position. Aaron Crow came on and fanned Justin Maxwell to keep it a 2-0 game.
Despite two singles in the ninth, KC came away with no more insurance as Alcides Ecobar was caught stealing and Jarrod Dyson hit into an inning-ending double-play.
Broxton made sure the lead held up, working around a leadoff walk to Brian Bogusevic by retiring the next three batters.
Butler's blast to left in the first put the Royals on the board.
It was 2-0 for the visitors in the third as Yuniesky Betancourt hit a leadoff single, Butler walked, Betancourt advanced to third on a Mike Moustakas fly and scored on an Escobar single.
"It kind of took a little time to get going tonight," said Astros manager Brad Mills about Rodriguez. "He wound up giving up those first two runs in the first and third inning and then after that I think he only allowed one hit."
Hochevar avoided trouble in the second by inducing an inning-ending double- play grounder from Chris Johnson with two on, then stranded two in the fifth after getting Jordan Schafer on a grounder to second.
He then fanned Bogusevic with two in scoring position in the sixth.
Kansas City has won three of the last four meetings with Houston and improved its all-time record against the Astros to 12-16...The Royals also upped their mark to 7-6 in southeast Texas, having taken four of the last five there...Hochevar's last scoreless outing came at Chicago on May 12, blanking the White Sox on three hits over seven innings.