Norris tries to deliver Astros another W against Angels

In the second game of an American League West divisional weekend series the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will square off once again with the Houston Astros.

It was the Astros who picked up a rare win in Friday night's series opener as they earned a 6-3 win behind a strong pitching performance from Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel allowed just two runs on six hits over seven innings of work and Jason Veras pitched a scoreless ninth inning to capture his ninth save.

Carlos Pena went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Jason Castro belted his seventh home run of the season to lead the Astros to a season-high tying third-straight victory.

Tommy Hanson took the loss for the Angels allowing five runs, four of which were earned, on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings pitched.

Erick Aybar went 2-for-4 and hit his first home run of the season but the Angels had only seven hits as a team as they lost for the third time in the last five games.

On Saturday it will be Bud Norris that takes to the mound for Houston as he makes his 12th start of the season.

It is difficult to call a pitcher with a 4-4 record and an ERA of 3.71 an ace but on the Houston staff that is just what Norris is. In fact Norris is the only starter on the team with an ERA below 4.50 and one of only two with an ERA below 5.30. Norris is also second on the team in innings pitched (63) and strikeouts (38).

Norris has done a good job of rebounding from his worst start of the season on May 13 when he allowed a season-high seven runs in a 7-2 loss to Detroit. In the two starts since Norris has allowed just two runs over 13 innings of work though he has not factored in either decision.

During a career that has covered just five years so far, Norris has faced the Angels twice. Norris has been dominant in those two previous outings as he is 2-0 with an ERA of 0.60 in those contests including an eight-inning, one-run effort earlier this season.

Journeyman reliever and spot starter Jerome Williams will be getting the nod for the Angels on Saturday.

Williams began the season out of the bullpen but was pressed into a starting role due to injuries to the Los Angeles rotation. After his first eight appearances all came out of the bullpen, Williams last five have all been starts.

As a starter this season Williams is 3-1 with an ERA of 3.19 while overall this season he is 4-1 with an ERA of 2,58, which at the moment, though it is still quite early, is well below is career average (4.15).

Williams will be on a bit of extra rest for this contest with his last outing coming last Sunday when he earned his third-straight victory while allowing just two runs on seven hits in six innings against Kansas City.

Against Houston, a team he faced a bit more frequently earlier in his career when he pitched for the Cubs and the Giants, Williams is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in four total appearances, though this will be his first this season.

The Astros now lead the season series 4-3.