Lefty Wandy Rodriguez aims for a fourth consecutive victory and a series win tonight when the Houston Astros host the Kansas City Royals in the second of three interleague games at Minute Maid Park.

The 33-year-old Dominican opened the season with four losses in seven decisions, but has since improved to 6-4 with defeats of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and San Francisco in his last five starts.

In the three wins, he has allowed 23 hits and seven runs in 18 1/3 innings.

His last loss came on May 18 when he was touched for 10 hits and three runs in six innings of a 4-1 defeat against Texas.

Rodriguez has faced the Royals once in his career and took a 7-2 loss against Scott Elarton on June 16, 2006 in Houston.

The Astros broke on top of the series on Monday when Justin Maxwell hit a two- run home run and ended with three RBI. Brian Bixler finished the game 3-for-5 with a solo homer and three RBI and Brian Bogusevic added a solo shot in a 9-7 triumph.

J.A. Happ (5-7) pitched six-plus innings in the win as he gave up just two runs on four hits and a walk with three strikeouts to snap a string of four straight losing starts.

"We'd been using our bullpen quite a lot the last few days so it was huge to see him go as far as he did," Houston manager Brad Mills said.

Brett Myers nearly blew the win, though, as he was tagged for eight hits and five runs in the ninth inning before Xavier Cedeno came on to get the last out for his first career save.

Kansas City's Jonathan Sanchez (1-3) was his own worst enemy.

He committed two errors with bad pickoff throws, both of which led to runs, hit two batters, walked four, gave up six hits and four runs - three earned - over six innings to drop his third straight decision.

"I made those two errors and it cost me the game," Sanchez said.

Yuniesky Betancourt and Billy Butler each drove in two runs for the Royals, who had won five of six coming into the contest.

Kansas City's Luke Hochevar gets tonight's start with a chance to end a six- start drought that's seen him lose four decisions.

In his last start, on June 14 against Milwaukee, he allowed three runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings while getting a no-decision in Kansas City's 4-3 win.

Hochevar allowed two runs on three hits in one previous meeting with Houston while recording a no-decision.

The Astros lead the overall interleague series, 17-11. The Royals won two of three at home when the teams last played in 2010.