Houston, TX – Bud Norris tossed seven shutout innings to guide the Houston Astros to an 8-4 win over the Chicago Cubs, in the first of a three-game set.
Norris (5-1) gave up five hits and walked three while fanning eight.
Chris Johnson and Jason Castro each had three-run homers while Jed Lowrie recorded three hits, including a solo blast as Houston picked up its fourth win in six tries.
Blake Lalli drove in two runs while Reed Johnson and David DeJesus each had RBI singles in the ninth for the Cubs, losers in seven straight.
Matt Garza (2-2) lasted just three innings, and gave up seven runs on five hits.
"That was not Matt Garza pitching. It was strange," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "That's not the Matt Garza I've seen."
Houston took a 3-0 lead in the second following Castro's three-run blast. Johnson singled and J.D. Martinez walked to set the table for Castro's first home run of the season.
The Astros came right back in the third and added four more to go up 7-0. Lowrie singled, stole second then moved to third when Koyie Hill's throw to second sailed into center field. Carlos Lee followed with a single to plate Lowrie. Bogusevic walked to put runners on first and second for Johnson who drove a 2-1 fastball into the right-field stands.
A Lowrie homer in the seventh made it 8-0.
"The guys coming out and scoring some runs is huge," said Norris. "To get some support always makes it a little bit easier to just kind of compete and throw strikes."
Chicago added four in the ninth to avoid the shutout. Adrian Cardenas opened the frame with a ground-rule double down the line in left and moved to third when Hill singled through the hole at second. Johnson, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter, then singled to center to plate Cardenas and move Hill to third. De Jesus followed with a single that scored Cardenas, and a Lalli single scored Hill and DeJesus.
But Wilton Lopez was able to stop the bleeding and got Joe Mather to fly out to end the game.
Lowrie extended his hitting streak to six games....Norris is 4-0 in the month of May...The Astros are 8-1 when Norris stars...Lalli's single in the ninth was the first of his career...The Cubs finished the game 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.