Shields tries to snap skid as Royals battle Astros

Workhorse righty James Shields will try to end a three- start drought on Wednesday night when the Kansas City Royals visit the Houston Astros for the finale of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.

The former Tampa Bay Rays ace was 2-2 after an 8-2 defeat of the Rays on April 30, but has gone 0-2 in three May starts, including a 2-1 loss at Oakland in his last outing on May 17.

He allowed two runs and six hits in eight innings of that loss while striking out nine.

One start earlier, Shields allowed three runs on six hits in eight innings of a 3-2 loss to the New York Yankees in Kansas City.

The Royals, who are 3-6 in games he's pitched, have scored four runs in his last three starts and 34 in nine outings overall.

For the Astros, young righty Jordan Lyles starts for the fifth time this season and aims for win No. 2.

The 22-year-old, who entered the season with seven wins in 45 big-league appearances, defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on May 7, then allowed eight runs in four innings of a 12-7 defeat against Texas in his subsequent outing.

His last start, at Pittsburgh on May 17, resulted in a 5-4 Houston loss after Lyles gave up an earned run on five hits in five innings and got a no- decision.

He lost his lone career start against the Royals.

On Tuesday, Eric Hosmer tallied two hits with two runs scored and the Royals used a four-run eighth inning to capture a 7-3 win.

The Royals scored all of their runs over the last three frames.

"I thought we had some great at-bats," said Kansas City manager Ned Yost. "All of our guys did a great job to put some runs on the board."

Alex Gordon had three hits and a run scored for the Royals, who snapped a four-game skid. Bruce Chen (3-0) tossed a scoreless seventh to pick up the win.

Jimmy Paredes smacked a three-run homer, while starter Bud Norris fired six scoreless innings for Houston, which had won three of its last five tilts coming in.

"We're going to have to learn from the mistakes we made tonight," said Norris. "We got to capitalize tomorrow."

The Royals have won two of three from the Astros in each of the last four series between the teams, dating back to 2006. Houston last won the season series in 2005.