Royals-Astros Preview

The Associated Press

The Houston Astros' starters have done a better job of late.

That wasn't the case for Bud Norris the last time he took the mound, and he'll look to bounce back when he faces the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.

Houston (13-32) defeated the Royals 6-5 on Monday, ending a four-game home losing streak and avoiding a third straight defeat there to Kansas City (20-21).

Converted reliever Dallas Keuchel wasn't dominant, giving up four runs in 6 2-3 innings, but was good enough to help the Astros win for the third time in five games since a six-game slide. While Houston's starters are last in the major leagues with a 6.04 ERA, the rotation has posted a 2.92 mark in the past four.

Norris (4-4, 4.32 ERA) will have had two extra days of rest as he looks to extend that run. Manager Bo Porter told the Astros' official website that the right-hander could have gone Sunday in Pittsburgh after leaving a 7-2 loss at Detroit on May 13 in the sixth inning with lower back spasms. However, the team wanted Norris to avoid possible further injury by hitting.

Norris surrendered a season-high seven runs in the contest after going 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA in his previous four outings. He's 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA in his five home starts.

Norris will try to deal the Royals a fifth consecutive loss when he faces them for the first time.

Kansas City, which has fallen by one run in each of its last four, will send Wade Davis (3-3, 5.98) to the mound. The right-hander won his last start, but he's posted an 8.39 ERA in his past five outings.

Staked to an 8-0 third-inning lead Wednesday, Davis gave up four runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

He threw seven innings of one-run ball the only time he faced the Astros, a 7-2 Tampa Bay victory at Houston on June 25, 2011.

George Kottaras could be catching Davis after Salvador Perez left in the sixth inning Monday with a bruised hip after crashing into the railing near the Astros' dugout. Kottaras is 2 for 8 with a homer and a triple off Norris.

Former Astro Miguel Tejada has never faced Davis, but that could change after he started in place of struggling third baseman Mike Moustakas on Monday and hit a three-run homer. It was Tejada's first home run since 2011 after not playing in the majors last season.

Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez has all four of his homers this season in the last nine games after hitting a three-run shot Monday. Dominguez, though, is 6 for 36 during that stretch.

"I'm trying to figure some things out and be more consistent,'' he said. "I've been able to get some big hits, and hopefully, the average will be there by the end of the year."

Kansas City's Alex Gordon is among the AL batting leaders at .343 after pushing his hitting streak to eight with a single Monday. He has never faced Norris.

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