Bud Norris tossed eight-plus innings of one-run ball as the Houston Astros downed the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 3-1, on Wednesday in the second test of a three-game set from Minute Maid Park.
Marwin Gonzalez and Jimmy Paredes each recorded two hits with RBI doubles, while Chris Carter clubbed a solo homer to help the Astros capture their first series win over the Angels since 2004, when they took two of three from June 18-20 of that year.
Norris (4-3) gave up nine hits, but limited the damage by forcing three double plays. The Angels hit into four for the contest, with Howie Kendrick capping the disappointing effort by grounding into one with the bases loaded to end the game.
Josh Hamilton's solo homer tallied Los Angeles' only run, with the team losing its fourth straight game and ninth in its last 11. The Angels (11-22) are just 1 1/2 games ahead of Houston for last in the AL West.
"It's not who you're playing or where you're playing; it's how you're playing," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "And right now, we're not doing enough things well to set the game up on our terms and give ourselves the margin of error you need when you don't get a break."
Joe Blanton (0-6) was charged for all three runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings.
Matt Dominguez's shot off the top of the right field wall with one out in the third was reviewed before being ruled a double, and Gonzalez and Paredes soon followed with two-baggers of their own to give Houston a 2-0 edge.
Carter led off the home fifth with a solo homer to left to help the Astros to a three-run lead.
The Angels were unable to get out of their own way. Mike Trout hit into a double play in the first, Mark Trumbo was caught stealing second in the fourth and Chris Iannetta hit into an inning ending double play in the fifth.
Hamilton pulled the Angels within 3-1 after reaching Norris for a homer into left field in the seventh, but Los Angeles hit into double plays the next two frames.
The Angels looked like they were finally going to break through off Norris when Trout and Albert Pujols led off the ninth with singles.
The Astros called upon closer Jose Veras and he struck out Trumbo before plunking Hamilton to load the bases. Veras needed just one more pitch though to record his fourth save of the season, as Kendrick grounded into the game- ending double play.
"When guys like that throw that good, you have to find a way to get it done because they deserve it to get that win," said Veras.
The victory is only Houston's third in its last 13 games ... The Astros captured their third series victory of the season ... Los Angeles went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.