May 16, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Bud Norris (20) pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers during the second inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE
It's good to be home as the Astros celebrated their homecoming by breaking out of an offensive funk to put up an eight spot against the Brewers Wednesday night. Sure the Brewers didn't arrive in Houston until 4 this morning, and Randy Wolf had an ERA of 5.63 coming into the game, but it was night to see the offense break out of their slump. Hopefully the offensive uprising will also show up tomorrow against Shawn Marcum.
Perhaps slightly overshadowed by the offensive outburst was Bud Norris who pitched a great ballgame. In 3 starts in May now Bud Norris has pitched 19 innings with 21 strikeouts against 6 walks, and has only allowed 1 earned run. He has also only allowed 7 hits during that time period. In tonight's contest Norris cruised through his first three innings before allowing a leadoff homerun to Corey Hart in the fourth. After that Norris fell into a nice rythym and retired the next eleven in a row before allowing a single in the seventh. He ended his evening with a strikeout of Taylor Green, good enough for his ninth strikeout of the evening.
Rhiner Cruz took over for Norris in the eigth and had a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout. He came back out for the ninth and lost the strikezone issuing back-to-back walks to Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart. Mills had seen enough at that point and brought in lefty Wesley Wright. Wright allowed both inherited runners to score on a triple by pinch hitter Johnathan Lucroy, but then recorded two groundball outs to end the game.
The Astros jumped on Brewers starter Randy Wolf scoring 6 runs on 7 hits in the first 4 innings. The Astros first got on the board in the bottom of the 2nd when Carlos Lee got things started with a lead off single. Jed Lowrie then hit a shot to left that had Ryan Braun guessing it was hit just to the right of the Crawford Boxes, but the ball bounced off the left field wall and Braun was stuck in the carem. That was enough to allow the big man to score all the way from first on Lowrie's RBI double. Justin Maxwell followed with an RBI single up the middle to give the Astros a 2-0 lead. The Astros struck again in the third where Bud Norris got things started with a leadoff single. Later Altuve hit a single, and Martinez followed with a walk to load the bases for El Caballo, who responded with a two-run single up the middle. Lowrie then hit an
RBI double fielding error by Corey Hart that plated Martinez.
The Astros put the finishing touches on Wolf's night in the fourth when Jason Castro got things started with a walk, and reached second base on a sacrifice bunt by Norris. Schafer then hit an RBI single to plate Castro. Altuve followed with a walk, and then he and Schafer stole second and third base. Schafer later trotted home on a sacrifice fly by J.D. Martinez. That was it until the 7th where Carlos Lee hit his third homer of the year.
Overall the offense had a good game and timely hits, but only Carlos Lee recorded multiple hits going 3-4 with a homerun. J.D. Martinez did not get a hit, but looked good at the plate and hit the ball hard in his first at-bat. Hopefully he is on the verge of coming out of his slump.