Veteran Feldman appreciates Astros' energy, improvement

Righty notches strong outing vs. A's, enjoys club's early success

Veteran Feldman appreciates Astros' energy, improvement

OAKLAND -- Houston right-hander Scott Feldman notices a difference in the clubhouse from last year to this year, and the feeling is contagious.

Feldman took a shutout into the seventh inning of Saturday's 9-3 victory over the A's as the Astros improved to 10-7, their best start in nine years.

Feldman pitched the Astros into first place in his last start, and they've remained there ever since after clinching their third consecutive series.

"There's been a big improvement this year," Feldman said. "We're playing better. We're a year older and more mature. Every time we come to the field, it feels different. There's more energy, more excitement. Playing good baseball improves the environment."

Feldman has played in the big leagues longer than any other Astro player, with the exception of reliever Chad Qualls. He understands the importance of team chemistry, and he's seeing Houston develop exactly that.

"I feel good about it," he said. "Guys are swinging the bats great and giving us some breathing room."

The early success doesn't surprise second baseman Jose Altuve, who recorded his third consecutive multi-hit game.

Altuve's three-run homer

"I think the way we played in Spring Training, with all the new guys, it was obvious we were going to play good and support each other," he said.

Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.