Bud Norris struck out five over seven stellar innings of three-hit ball, as the Houston Astros blanked the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 5-0, on Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Angel Stadium.
Norris (2-1) walked just two and held the Angels without an extra-base hit in the contest. Hector Ambriz, Wesley Wright and Rhiner Cruz combined to keep the Halos off the board over the final two frames to complete the shutout.
Rick Ankiel collected two hits and three RBI, while Justin Maxwell smacked a solo shot and knocked in two overall for the Astros, who have won three straight.
Tommy Hanson (1-1) was tagged for five runs on eight hits and two walks over five frames to absorb the loss for the Angels, who have lost five straight to fall to an AL-worst 2-8 on the season.
"I felt great in the bullpen," Hanson remarked. "I pitched good later, but early was no good. Putting your team in a five-run deficit after three innings is not going to get it done."
Houston jumped on Hanson early, as Jose Altuve led off the game with a single and quickly scored on Maxwell's double to center.
Maxwell was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple, but Jason Castro and Chris Carter followed with consecutive singles before a Carlos Pena walk loaded the bases.
After J.D. Martinez fanned, Ankiel ripped a single to left to plate Castro and Carter for a 3-0 lead.
Maxwell smacked a two-out solo shot in the second to push the margin to 4-0 before Ankiel added a run-scoring double in the third to give the Astros a five-run advantage.
The run support was more than enough for Norris and the Astros, who kept the Angels from putting a runner in scoring position throughout the contest.
"Bud's slider was working," Houston manager Bo Porter said of his starter. "He was absolutely fantastic and the defense played well behind him."
Houston went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base ... The Angels left five runners on base ... Norris' start was the 100th of his career.