Astros-Royals Preview

The Associated Press

The Houston Astros didn't need too much help from George Springer to secure their longest win streak of the season.

The Astros rookie will try to extend his hit streak to 10 games while leading his team to a fifth consecutive victory and first sweep of the Kansas City Royals in 13 years Wednesday.

Springer hit five home runs in four games before registering an infield single and two fly balls to the warning track Tuesday. The Astros (21-32) only needed Matt Dominguez's RBI single in the fourth inning for their fourth straight win, dealing Kansas City (24-27) its fourth shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory.

"I think we're playing hard," pitcher Collin McHugh said. "We're coming to play every day, and we're putting together a few games here."

Springer is batting .412 during his hit streak and has 10 RBIs in the Astros' four consecutive victories.

Houston's longest win streak in 2013 was a sweep of a six-game road trip May 29-June 3. It hasn't swept a series from the Royals since July 6-8, 2001, at Kauffman Stadium.

Jarred Cosart (3-4, 4.39 ERA) will try to help the Astros move a step closer toward matching that run by adding to his string of solid outings. The right-hander has gone 2-2 with a 2.92 ERA in his last six starts and gave up three runs over 6 1-3 innings of a 3-1 loss in Seattle on Thursday.

Cosart struck out six but walked four for the second straight game and is among the major league leaders in that category with 28.

"I've got to figure out why I'm walking people," Cosart said. "If I put somebody on base, they usually score. They haven't been getting hits to score the runs, they've been walking, then get a hit and score. I just have to stop walking guys, bottom line."

Cosart will face the Royals for the first time, and Danny Duffy (2-4, 2.59) will look to bounce back from his worst outing of the season in his first start against Houston.

The left-hander gave up five runs and nine hits - two homers - in six innings of a 6-1 road defeat to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. He went 1-2 with a 1.06 ERA in his first three starts this season.

"I know I can do a lot better than that. ... A loss always hurts, but you have to hold yourself accountable," he said.

Duffy moved from the bullpen to take the injured Bruce Chen's spot in the rotation May 3. He got the win with two scoreless innings of relief in a 6-4, 11-inning victory at Houston on April 16, with Springer grounding out in his only at-bat against him.

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