Houston right-hander Bud Norris tries to continue an electric month of May this evening when the Astros play the middle test of a three-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
Norris won his fourth straight start on Monday against Chicago, as he scattered five hits over seven scoreless innings to run his record to 5-1, while lowering his earned run average to 3.14.
"Definitely in a rhythm right now," Norris said. "I've been working really well with (Jason) Castro. Things have been there for me. I just want to keep it going."
Norris has pitched to a sparkling 0.35 ERA this month, allowing just one run in 26 innings.
"I think he's putting himself in a situation to win ballgames and for the ballclub to win these games," Houston manager Brad Mills said. "That's huge."
Norris has faced the Dodgers five times and is 1-1 with a 2.67 ERA.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, will hand the ball to righty Chad Billingsley, who is 2-3 with a 3.91 ERA. Billingsley did not get a decision on Sunday against St. Louis, as he allowed five runs (three earned) and eight hits in six innings of a 6-5 win. He also walked four batters for the third time this season.
"I felt like I had pretty good command of throwing the ball where I wanted it to go," Billingsley said. "I had a good fastball and good offspeed stuff. It's just the way the game is, you can't do anything about it."
Billingsley lost to the Astros back on April 22 and is 4-4 in eight starts against them with a 4.96 ERA.
Houston drew first blood in this series on Friday, as J.D. Martinez clubbed a two-run homer to back a solid outing by Lucas Harrell to help the visiting Astros to a 3-1 victory.
Harrell (4-3) scattered five hits and walked three over a career-high 7 1/3 innings to pick up his first major league road win in 12 outings (six starts).
"You can't say enough about Lucas Harrell. He did an outstanding job," said Mills.
Clayton Kershaw (4-2) gave up three runs -- two earned -- on five hits, walked three and struck out six in seven full frames for the Dodgers, who have dropped two in a row on the heels of a six-game winning streak.
"He didn't seem to be as sharp, but hung in there and gave us a chance to win," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly about Kershaw.
The Dodgers, who are 7-0 on Saturdays this season, took two of three from the Astros earlier in the year from April 20-22 at Minute Maid Park and have won six of the last eight matchups.