Houston, TX – Bud Norris tossed seven innings of one-run ball and the Houston Astros knocked off the Milwaukee Brewers, 8-3, in the opener of a two-game series Wednesday.
Norris (4-1) struck out nine and walked two to earn the win. Rhiner Cruz tossed a perfect eighth and was charged with two runs in the ninth before Wesley Wright got the last three outs for the Astros to snap a four-game skid.
"I'm trying to pitch as deep into the ball game as I can," Norris said. "Pitch count for me isn't really a big factor. It depends on the feel inning after inning. I felt fine and felt like I got stronger as the game went on."
Carlos Lee went 3-for-4 with a solo home run and three RBI, while Jed Lowrie, Justin Maxwell, Jordan Schafer and J.D. Martinez all had an RBI in the victory.
Randy Wolf (2-4) allowed seven runs -- six earned -- on seven hits and three walks in four innings to take the loss.
Corey Hart cracked a solo home run and Jonathan Lucroy ripped a pinch-hit two- run triple for the Brewers, who have dropped three of their last four.
Houston opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the second inning when Lee started the frame with a single into left and scored on a double by Lowrie. Lowrie then scored on a base hit up the middle by Maxwell.
The Astros added three more runs in their next at-bat. Norris started the rally with a single and Jose Altuve roped a base hit to right before Martinez walked to load the bags with one down. Lee then ripped a single up the middle to plate Norris and Altuve, and Lowrie reached on an error by Hart which allowed Martinez to score for a 5-0 Houston cushion.
"They're not a bad hitting team, they have a lot of good young players," Wolf said. "There's no excuse for me to not execute my pitches."
The Brewers got a run back in the fourth when Hart led off the inning by rocketing a Norris fastball into the seats in left to cut the deficit to 5-1.
But the Astros added two more runs in the home half of the frame. Jason Castro drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Norris, and scored on a single back through the box by Schafer. Altuve followed with a walk and both runners moved up a base on a double steal before Schafer scored on a sac- fly by Martinez.
Lee made it a seven-run affair in the seventh when he deposited a hanging slider from Tim Dillard into the left-field seats.
Aramis Ramirez and Hart walked in the ninth and scored on Lucroy's triple to account for the final margin.
Milwaukee fell to 7-12 on the road this season and 8-15 when allowing the first run of the game...The Astros improved to 11-8 at home and 7-1 in games started by Norris this season...Entering play on Wednesday, the Brewers had won each of their past six games at Minute Maid Park...The Astros finished 3- for-7 with runners in scoring position and left just three on base.