Astros 8, Brewers 3

Houston starter Bud Norris spoke to manager Brad Mills before

the season about being more consistent and pitching deeper into

games this year.

So far, Norris is getting just what he wanted.

Carlos Lee had three hits, including his first homer since April

22, and three RBIs to back another solid outing by Norris, and the

Houston Astros beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-3 on Wednesday

night.

Norris (4-1) yielded four hits and a run with a season-high nine

strikeouts in seven innings, improving to 3-0 in his last four

starts to help Houston end a four-game skid.

”He came in saying he wanted to have a different year this year

and I think with the way he’s gone about his business and gone

about how he’s pitched has been along those lines,” Mills said.

”There’s no reason to think that’s going to change as he continues

to put together good outing after good outing.”

The team is 7-1 in his eight starts this season and he’s pitched

fewer than six innings just once this year.

”I’m growing up and I guess I’m getting a little older and a

little wiser,” the 27-year-old said. ”Each offseason I’m going to

try to make strides in the right direction and I’ve got a lot of

people around me helping.”

Lee’s home run was a solo shot to left-center field in the

seventh inning that put Houston up 8-1. His third homer of the

season came just moments after he narrowly avoided being hit by a

foul ball from J.D. Martinez while waiting in the on-deck

circle.

”It was too close,” he said. ”If the ball is coming right at

you, you’re so close right there that by the time you react, the

ball’s already by you. So it’s scary to be out there.”

Lee looked a bit shaken after ducking to avoid the ball and

running out of the way. He recovered by the time he was at the

plate, and the homer was the culmination of a good night for Lee,

who singled and scored in the second then drove in two runs with a

single in Houston’s three-run third.

He’s had 10 hits combined in the last four games after getting

nine in the previous 10 games.

”I’m feeling real good right now,” he said. ”I’ve kind of

found something that’s keeping me in a good position to hit.”

Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf (2-4) allowed seven hits and seven

runs – six earned – in a season-worst four innings. His performance

ended a streak of seven straight quality starts for the Brewers,

whose starters combined for a 1.37 ERA in that span.

”Randy got behind guys and they started finding holes,”

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ”I’ve said before these guys

are a scrappy team. Offensively, these guys can swing the bat. They

are always on base. They are hard to get out.”

The Brewers were disappointed that they weren’t able to build on

Tuesday’s 8-0 win over the Mets.

”I can only speak for myself, and I know I’m miserable,” Wolf

said when asked about the mood of the team.

The only mistake by Norris came in the fourth inning against

Corey Hart. Hart’s eighth homer of the season sailed to the back of

the Crawford Boxes in left field to get Milwaukee within 5-1. But

the Brewers weren’t able to build on it and Norris retired 11

straight after that, striking out six.

Milwaukee didn’t get another runner on base until Cesar Izturis

singled with two outs in the seventh inning, but Norris struck out

pinch-hitter Taylor Green to end the inning.

Pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy’s triple in the ninth inning drove

in two runs to cut the lead to 8-3.

Lee singled in the second before scoring on a double by Jed

Lowrie, which bounced off the wall in left field, to put Houston up

1-0. Justin Maxwell followed with an RBI single on a grounder to

center field which pushed the lead to 2-0.

Norris started Houston’s third with a single that was deflected

into the outfield by Rickie Weeks. Jose Altuve singled with one out

before Wolf walked J.D. Martinez to load the bases.

A groundball single by Lee scored Norris and Altuve to extend

Houston’s lead to 4-0.

Lowrie reached second base and Martinez scored on an error by

Hart, the right fielder, when he couldn’t make an over-the-shoulder

catch on a fly ball at the wall.

Jordan Schafer drove in a run with a single in the fourth to

make it 6-1. Altuve walked after Schafer’s hit and the pair pulled

off a double steal. Schafer scored on a sacrifice fly by

Martinez.

Weeks struck out four times to lower his average to .154. The

slumping Weeks has had just one hit – a home run – in his last 27

at-bats.

NOTES: Brewers SS Alex Gonzalez is scheduled to have surgery on

the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Thursday in

Milwaukee. … Houston pitching coach Doug Brocail turned 45 on

Wednesday. … Jackie Robinson’s daughter Sharon Robinson was at

Wednesday night’s game to honor local seventh grader Aeliya Arif

for winning second place in a national essay contest where students

tell how they’ve used Jackie Robinson’s values to face obstacles.

… These teams wrap up this short, two-game series on Thursday

when Houston lefthander J.A. Happ meets Milwaukee’s Shaun

Marcum.