Feldman continues starters' impressive run

Righty earns second victory on Astros' road trip with six shutout innings

Feldman continues starters' impressive run

SAN FRANCISCO -- Veteran right-hander Scott Feldman figures to be as much of a key to the Astros' success over the final six weeks of the season as any of their starters, including 13-game winners Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh, lefty Scott Kazmir and newcomer Mike Fiers.

The only two games the Astros won on their 2-7 road trip through Arlington, Oakland and San Francisco were started by Feldman, who threw six scoreless innings Wednesday in a 2-0 win at AT&T Park. He's 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in his five starts since coming off the disabled list.

Feldman, who beat the Giants for the first time in his career, is 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his past four road starts.

"Obviously we had a little bit of a tough road trip there. Put it behind us, get a win, have a happy flight home and hopefully have a good homestand when we get back there," Feldman said. "I felt good. I don't face these guys too often. I tried to remember some of these guys I had faced in the past and just get on the same page with [catcher] Jason [Castro] and try to go to work."

The Astros struggled to score runs during the entire trip, but their pitching was solid. Houston's starters posted a 2.79 ERA in the final eight games of the road trip with five quality starts. The Astros entered play Wednesday ranked fourth in the American League in team ERA by starters at 3.88.

"We haven't been able to piece together too many big innings, so in order to stay close for some of these tough games, it's been all about starting pitching," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I think our guys are very reliable. They probably don't get the credit they deserve on how well they pitched, certainly since the break, but even deeper into the season. You need good starting pitching to get to the finishing line, upright and feeling good. We need them to continue it."

Feldman, in the second year of a three-year, $30 million deal, has big-game experience Keuchel and McHugh lack. He pitched in the playoffs for the Rangers in 2011, making five appearances in relief in the 2011 World Series. Feldman understands the magnitude of wins and losses build as August falls into September.

"We're right in the thick of things," he said. "Every game matters. So you try not to put any extra pressure on yourself. But at the end of the day, we know that we need to win some ballgames and play well the last couple months here."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.