(SportsNetwork.com) - Yordano Ventura tries to help the Kansas City Royals beat the Houston Astros for the seventh straight time on Monday when the two teams begin a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City won four of its six meetings with the Astros last season and won the final three games before sweeping them in a three-game set in April.
Now the Royals turn to Ventura to keep that going, as he eyes his first-ever win at home. The 22-year-old righty lost his third consecutive start on Tuesday to Chicago, as he allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings to fall to 2-4 on the year, despite a respectable 2.80 ERA.
"He's got that electric fastball that he can command very well," Royals catcher Brett Hayes said. "He throws his two-seamer with almost as much velocity as his four-seamer. It's all about staying within his mechanics. He's pitching really good, and he makes really quick adjustments (for a young pitcher)."
Ventura, who beat the Astros for his first big league win, is 0-3 in five home starts this season with a 3.29 ERA.
Kansas City lost two of three over the weekend to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as it dropped a 4-3 decision in Sunday's rubber match. Eric Hosmer, Pedro Ciriaco and Alex Gordon each knocked in a run for the Royals, who have lost four of six.
"Anytime you lose a game like that is frustrating," said Royals manager Ned Yost.
Houston, meanwhile, has won two in a row after splitting a four-game set with the Seattle Mariners. On Sunday, Dallas Keuchel went the distance, George Springer hit the go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning and the Astros topped Seattle, 4-1.
Keuchel (6-2) allowed one unearned run on four hits while striking out six and failing to walk a batter, throwing 66 of his 106 pitches for strikes.
Marc Krauss also clubbed a two-run shot for the Astros, who earned a split on the heels of a four-game slide.
"Any time you play a four-game series, you want to win the series, but if you can get away with a split, especially on the road, that's always huge," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
Springer is now starting to live up to his hype. He has now homered in three straight games and has hit seven home runs in his past 15 games after not leaving the park in his first 19.
The club record for rookie homers in a month is eight by Glenn Davis in September 1985.
"I'm just able to slow things down more and staying within myself, I guess, and not trying to go out and do something I can't do. I'm not trying to hit the eight-run home run anymore. I'm just going out and slowing down and trying to help the team win."
Getting the call for the Astros on Monday will be righty Scott Feldman, who has lost his last two decisions. Feldman fell to 2-2 on Tuesday in Anaheim, as the Angels reached him for eight runs (3 earned) and nine hits in just four innings to balloon his ERA to 3.02.
Feldman lost to KC earlier in the season and is 4-3 lifetime against the club with a 3.36 ERA in 16 games (9 starts).