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
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
”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
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
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