Published January 13, 2015
Right-hander Bud Norris can make his first career start against Baltimore an impactful one when the Houston Astros host the Orioles in the finale of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros pulled even in the series on Wednesday night, when Matt Dominguez drove in three runs, and was one of six Houston players to homer, as the Astros held off the Orioles, 11-7.
The six home runs hit by the Astros were one shy of a club record, set Sept. 9, 2000 at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. Jose Altuve, Jason Castro, J.D. Martinez, Carlos Pena and Marwin Gonzalez also went deep for Houston, which has won seven of its last eight games.
J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters each homered and had two RBI for the Orioles, who lost for just the second time in seven games.
Baltimore nearly came back from a 9-1 deficit. The O's scored three times in the seventh and eighth innings. They had the bases full with the tying run at the plate in the eighth, but Hardy grounded into a double play to end the inning.
It was a tough night for Orioles starter Freddy Garcia (2-3). The veteran right-hander, who threw eight shutout innings in his last start, allowed seven hits, including four homers, and six runs over three-plus frames.
"I don't think I made any good pitches," Garcia said. "I got my (butt) kicked tonight. That's part of this game. Sometimes you pitch one game you're dealing and the next game something like that happens."
On the other side, Dallas Keuchel (3-2) limited the Orioles to five hits and a runs over six innings.
Norris, a veteran of 109 major-league starts, is unbeaten in three outings - winning one and getting two no-decisions - since a 7-2 loss at Detroit on May 13.
He's tossed a combined 19 innings since while allowing 17 hits and just two runs against Kansas City, Colorado and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The win came in the June 1 start against the Angels, whom he held to four hits in six scoreless innings of a 2-0 win.
The Astros are 5-5 in his last 10 starts and 6-6 overall in 2013 in games he's pitched.
The Orioles go with second-year righty Miguel Gonzalez, who'll be making his first appearance against Houston in his 28th big-league game.
The native of Mexico reached the majors and was 9-4 in 18 games with Baltimore last season and has split four decisions in nine 2013 starts.
His last win came April 23 against Toronto, leaving him without a victory in five subsequent starts - four of which have ended in no-decisions.
Gonzalez is 1-2 in five road starts this spring.
Baltimore and Houston are meeting for the first time since the Orioles swept a three-game series at Camden Yards from June 17-19, 2008. The Orioles are back in Houston after losing all three matchups there from June 3-5, 2003.