California-born right-hander Bud Norris can continue an unusual back and forth run through the early season on Tuesday night when the Houston Astros host the Kansas City Royals in the middle game of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.
Norris, a sixth-round pick in the 2006 draft, was a seven-game winner in 29 starts for the Astros last season and entered this year with 28 wins in 98 big-league outings.
He opened 2013 with an 8-2 win over Texas on March 31 and has since alternated wins and losses over seven decisions in eight starts, most recently evening the slate at 4-4 with a 7-2 loss at Detroit on May 13.
He's 3-1 in Houston this season - defeating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on May 8 in his last home start - and has posted a 2.30 earned run average there in 31 1/3 innings.
Norris has never faced the Royals.
For Kansas City, righty Wade Davis makes his ninth start since an offseason trade that brought him in from Tampa Bay.
Davis was an 11-game winner for the Rays in 2011 and went 3-0 in 54 relief outings there last season before a deal that sent he and starter James Shields to the Royals.
He opened the stint with his new team with a 3-0 defeat of Minnesota on April 10 and has since gone 2-3 in six starts while his ERA has swelled to 5.98 through 40 2/3 innings of work.
He defeated the Angels in his last start on May 15 after allowing four runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Davis is 1-0 in his career against Houston and 2-1 in four road starts this season.
On Monday, Matt Dominguez launched a three-run home run in the fourth inning that proved to be the difference as the Astros topped the Royals, 6-5.
Dominguez and Jimmy Paredes had two hits apiece to pace Houston, which won for the third time in five tries after dropping six in a row. Jason Castro added his fourth homer of the season.
Jose Veras saved it with a perfect ninth for Dallas Keuchel (1-1), who yielded four runs on nine hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings.
"They're always great, so it's nothing new," Keuchel said. "I have faith in them any time. I try to get as many ground balls as possible, that's my goal."
Jeremy Guthrie (5-2) absorbed his second consecutive loss after giving up all six runs on eight hits in five innings.
"He battled his command," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "He was really struggling with his arm spot and he struggled at times to get the ball down."
The Royals have won two of three from the Astros in each of the last four series between the teams, dating back to 2006. Houston last won the season series in 2005.