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Astros win series with 3-1 victory over Royals

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HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros got another good outing from their starting pitcher, and their bullpen was just fine for a change.

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer off James Shields, Jordan Lyles pitched six effective innings and the Astros beat the Kansas City Royals 3-1 on Wednesday night.

Lyles (2-1) allowed one run and six hits in his 50th career game. Travis Blackley and Hector Ambriz each got three outs before Jose Veras pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save one night after the bullpen struggled in a 7-3 loss.

"They've been taxed a lot this year and called upon on numerous occasions, so every once in a while you're going to have the kind of game that we had last night," manager Bo Porter said. "But again, it speaks to the character of the men down there. They hold themselves accountable to holding a lead, and tonight they did a tremendous job. All of them."

Bud Norris pitched six shutout innings Tuesday, but the Royals scored seven times in the final three innings. Houston bounced back quite nicely to take two of three for its fourth series win this season.

Shields (2-5) struck out seven in seven innings while yielding two runs and seven hits. He has gone seven or more innings in each of his last six starts, but hasn't won since April 30 due in part to his offense providing him with just five runs combined in his last four starts.

"It's a little frustrating," manager Ned Yost said. "Especially when James Shields goes out and gives you the type of performance he gives you about every time he goes out. We just have not done a good job with run support with him at all."

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