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Royals' Anthony Lerew Replaces Luke Hochevar Against Astros, Looks For First Career Win

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(Sports Network) - The Houston Astros will try to finish off a roller-coaster road trip on a positive note in tonight's rubber match of a three-game interleague series with the Kansas City Royals from Kauffman Stadium.

Houston began its 10-game, three-city swing by taking three of four matchups with 2009 postseason participant Colorado before losing its next four contests, including a 15-7 shellacking at the hands of the Royals in Tuesday's series opener. The Astros regrouped with a 4-2 decision last night in which Jason Michaels knocked in three runs to back seven effective innings out of ace Roy Oswalt.

Michaels stroked a two-run single in the top of the fourth inning to give Houston a 3-2 advantage, then added an RBI double in the sixth to extend the margin to two runs. That was enough for Oswalt (5-8), who limited the Royals to two runs and struck out seven in a strong 106-pitch effort.

"I was going up there wanting to be aggressive and just go from there," said Michaels of his performance.

Carlos Lee had an RBI single in the first inning for Houston, which had lost six straight in interleague play coming in.

Wednesday's loss, just the second in the past six games for the Royals, spoiled a terrific night at the plate for David DeJesus. The outfielder collected four hits in four at-bats and knocked in one of the team's two runs.

Over his last four games, DeJesus has gone 11-for-15 with a homer and five RBI.

"It's the same approach every at-bat," he said afterward. "Don't try to do too much. Just try and stay confident and trust myself."

Scott Podsednik ended 2-for-4 with two runs scored for Kansas City, while starting pitcher Bruce Chen (3-1) allowed four runs (three earned) and struck out six in 5 2/3 innings.

Houston will hand the ball to Brett Myers as it vies for a series win tonight. The former Philadelphia Phillie has been a solid addition to the Astros rotation, having produced a very respectable 3.18 earned run average in addition to a 4-4 record over his first 13 starts of 2010. He's also been a model of consistency, having worked at least six innings in each of those appearances.

Myers wasn't overly sharp at the beginning of his most recent outing, however, allowing three first-inning runs to the New York Yankees this past Friday. The right-hander settled down to hold the Bronx Bombers to just one more run over the remainder of his seven-frame stint, although he still wound up with the loss in a 4-3 verdict.

Prior to that setback, Myers had gone 2-0 with an outstanding 1.69 ERA over a four-start span from May 21-June 6.

This will be the 29-year-old's first-ever encounter with the Royals. Myers is just 1-4 with a 3.51 ERA through six road starts this season, but the Astros have scored three runs or less in each of those losses.

Kansas City had planned to send out Luke Hochevar for the finale, but the former No. 1 overall draft choice was forced to the disabled list on Wednesday due to an elbow strain. The Royals brought up Anthony Lerew from Triple-A Omaha yesterday to take both his spot on the roster and place in the rotation.

Lerew will be taking another crack at earning his first major league win tonight. The right-hander has pitched in 14 games and made five starts with the Royals and Atlanta and is 0-3 with a 6.69 ERA at the big-league level. None of those games have come against the Astros.

The 27-year-old had been pitching well in the minors prior to the promotion, having compiled a 5-3 record with a 2.84 ERA in 14 appearances (11 starts) with Omaha. In his most recent mound trip, Lerew yielded one unearned run and just three hits to defeat Nashville on Sunday.

Kansas City won two of three bouts from Houston when these teams met at Minute Maid Park last season. The Astros are 10-4 all-time as the visitor in this series, however.