Astros start short set with Brewers

Astros starter Bud Norris will take the hill tonight looking for a third straight victory, but to do that he will need to keep the Brewers in the ballpark.

That is something he failed to do the first time he faced them and Norris hopes for better results when Houston and Milwaukee open up a two-game series at Minute Maid Park.

Norris is a solid 3-1 with a 3.95 earned run average this season, but that loss came against the Brewers back on April 24 as he was hammered for seven runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 frames. He allowed homers to Milwaukee's Corey Hart, Travis Ishikawa and Rickie Weeks, falling to 3-3 with a 4.98 ERA in his career versus the Brewers.

The 27-year-old righty has only allowed one unearned run over his two-game winning streak and is coming off an outing on Friday in Pittsburgh in which he tossed six scoreless innings. Norris scattered three hits and struck out a season high-tying eight batters without a walk. He also showed composure by getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning.

"You can't say enough about Bud and the way he pitched," said Houston manager Brad Mills. "The way he pitched to get out of that sixth inning. He really had to battle and go through everything and he did."

Houston hasn't won since Norris' last outing, dropping its fourth straight game on Tuesday with a 4-3 extra-inning decision at Philadelphia. The Astros scored twice in the top of the ninth to force extra innings, but saw closer Brett Myers give up a walk-off homer to Hunter Pence in the 10th.

Matt Downs notched a solo homer for the Astros and Jordan Lyles allowed three runs -- one earned -- over six innings after getting recalled from the minors to make the start.

"The guys came back and battled well," said Astros manager Brad Mills. "Lyles threw the ball extremely well. He did a great job coming up here for this."

Two of Milwaukee's hitters who took Norris deep back in April factored into the Brewers' 8-0 win over the Mets on Tuesday that halted a two-game slide. Ishikawa homered twice and drove in a career-high five runs, while Weeks also homered.

Zack Greinke struck out seven while allowing five hits and no walks through seven scoreless innings to earn the win.

"My control has been good the last two starts," said Greinke. "The main key is just not make a lot of mistakes and limit the hits to singles for the most part."

The Brewers give 35-year-old Randy Wolf the start tonight and he beat Norris and the Astros on April 24, giving up two runs on four hits and four walks in six frames of work. That improved his career record versus Houston to 9-5 with a 2.98 ERA in 20 games.

Wolf is also coming off perhaps his best outing of the season on Friday versus the Cubs, though he did not get a decision in his club's 8-7 victory in 13 innings. The southpaw allowed four hits and three walks over six scoreless frames, striking out five.

Wolf is 2-3 with a 5.63 ERA in seven starts this season.

The Brewers had won 11 straight versus the Astros dating back to last season before Houston won the finale of a three-game series at Milwaukee on April 25.