KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Roy Oswalt pitched eight innings in his second consecutive strong start, and Willy Taveras reached base five times and scored three runs to lead the Houston Astros over the Kansas City Royals 6-2 on Saturday night.

Oswalt, who pitched a two-hit shutout against the Toronto Blue Jays in his previous start, held the Royals to one run and seven hits. Oswalt (8-7) earned his first road win since April 15 at Cincinnati and lowered his ERA to 2.72.

Oswalt, who needed only 55 pitches through the first five innings, pitched out of a jam in the sixth. David DeJesus walked with two outs and stopped at third on Terrence Long’s double to left, but Matt Stairs lined out to Oswalt to end the inning.

Oswalt lost his shutout in the eighth when Long’s two-out single scored Angel Berroa. Oswalt had not allowed a run in 16 innings, and the Royals had not scored in their previous 17 innings.

Taveras led off the game with a single and advanced to second on Long’s fielding error. Craig Biggio bunted Taveras to third and Morgan Ensberg hit a sacrifice fly. Ensberg has 14 RBIs in his past 13 games.

Taveras had three hits, walked and reached on an error. He is hitting .423 in June.

D.J. Carrasco (2-2) gave up three runs and seven hits with five walks over seven innings for his team-leading sixth quality start. Carrasco, who began the season as a reliever in the minors, had allowed just three runs in 27 innings in his previous four starts.

Taveras walked to lead off the third and scored on Biggio’s double. Taveras had a bunt single in the seventh, moved to second on a fielder’s choice and scored on Mike Lamb’s single.

The Astros scored three runs – two unearned – in the eighth off Jeremy Affeldt. Chris Burke’s single scored Lane with the first run of the inning. Ruben Gotay’s error on Taveras’ grounder allowed Brad Ausmus and Burke to score.

Notes: The Astros have won eight straight games in Kansas City. … Royals 1B Mike Sweeney, who missed his third consecutive game with a sprained left wrist and elbow, will attempt to take swings Sunday. … Royals RHP Scott Sullivan, who has been on the disabled list all year with a bad back, threw a simulated game Saturday and will likely begin an injury rehab program soon with Triple-A Omaha. … Taveras leads the majors with 28 infield hits and 13 bunt singles.

AP-ES-06-18-05 2154EDT

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