Bud Norris stymied the Brewers’ offense over seven innings as the Houston Astros cruised to a comfortable 8-3 win over Milwaukee, Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park. Randy Wolf came into the game 5-0 in his last seven starts against Houston but was not effective before being removed after the fourth inning.
Wolf (2-4, 6.38) took the loss after he allowed seven runs, six earned, seven hits, three walks and one strike out over just four innings. Norris (4-1, 3.58) kept the Brewers’ bats silent, allowing just four hits, one run and a season high nine strike outs over seven strong innings. The only blemish on his night was a solo home run by Corey Hart in the fourth inning with Houston already leading 5-0. Norris is 3-0 in his last four starts with his last loss coming April 24th against Milwaukee.
The Astros opened the scoring in the bottom half of the second inning. Carlos “El Caballo” Lee lined a lead off single to left. Jed Lowrie knocked a RBI double high off the wall in left field scoring Lee from first. Right fielder Justin Maxwell, first pitch swinging, collected the Astros’ third consecutive hit on a sharp ground ball back up the middle scoring Lowrie.
In the bottom of the third, Bud Norris hit a hot shot off the glove of Rickie Weeks into center field. After Jordan Schafer struck out looking, Jose Altuve hit a single to right field. J.D. Martinez then walked on four pitches. El Caballo hit a two RBI single past a diving Cesar Izturis, giving the Astros a 4-0 advantage. Jed Lowrie reached on an error by Corey Hit on a well-hit ball to deep right with J.D. Martinez scoring Houston’s fifth run.
Corey Hart atoned for his error by belting a solo shot to left, his eighth of the year. The run cut the advantage to 5-1. Hart also went deep off Bud Norris in the April 24th contest at Miller Park.
Jason Castro started the Astros’ fourth with a walk. Bud Norris advanced Castro to second on a sacrifice bunt. Jordan Schafer knocked a bloop single to center scoring Castro, 6-1 Astros. Jose Altuve walked. With J.D. Martinez batting, the Astros executed a double steal. Martinez flied out and Schafer tagged and scored. In an unorthodox move, Nyjer Morgan called off Hart in right center on the play, and his throw was off target. Although Hart possesses the better arm and was already settled under the ball, Morgan stepped in front to record the out.
Ron Roenicke pinch-hit Brooks Conrad for Randy Wolf to lead off the fifth. Conrad struck out on a full count, still looking for hit number one on the season. Norris fanned Morgan and Rickie Weeks to strike out the side.
Vinnie Chulk took over for Randy Wolf and struck out the side for the Brewers in the bottom of the fifth.
In the bottom of the seventh Carlos Lee plastered Tim Dillard’s 1-0 offering over the fence in left field for his third hit on the evening and third home run of the season. 8-1 Astros.
Rhiner Cruz took over on the mound for Houston in the eighth, replacing Norris. Rickie Weeks struck out for the fourth time, earning the infamous golden sombrero.
Rhiner Cruz lost his control in the ninth, walking Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart and forcing a change from manager Brad Mills. Left-hander Wesley Wright came and erased Edwin Maysonet, pinch-hitting for Kottaras. Jonathan Lucroy then ripped a two RBI pinch hit triple on the first pitch from Wright for the final margin of 8-3.
Aramis Ramirez went 0-3 with a walk and a run scored, snapping a twelve game hitting streak.
El Caballo left the Brewers’ pitching staff with a long face going 3-4 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBI.