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Okay, sorry about the corny headline, but this type of performance was long overdue for Norris. Yes he has a history of success against the Cardinals, and he has also been dominating in his starts at Minute Maid Park this year, but he also hasn't won a game in his past 18 starts. This game served as a teaser of just how good Bud Norris can be. He did a little bit of everything tonight. He struck out seven batters, only allowed two hits (both singles), and did not walk a batter though he did bean Adron Chambers on what looked like a foul ball of the barrell of the bat.
This game was a pitcher's duel as both Chris Carpenter and Bud Norris retired the first nine batters they faced through through the first three. That changed in the fourth inning when Jon Jay lead off the inning with a hustling double. Luckily the double didn't blossom into anything and Norris was able to get out of the inning and strand Jay at third. In the bottom of the fourth Jose Altuve greeted Chris Carpenter with a lead off homerun over the Crawford Boxes. It was his sixth homerun of the season and the first in a very long time. Scott Moore followed the homer with a double off of the left-center wall. Speaking of Scott Moore let's take a quick detour off topic to point out that Moore has really been on a hot streak lately. His batting average is up to .266 and he's flashing some nice power as well. MadMartygan brought it up earlier today, but Moore could be an interesting left-handed option for the Astros DH vacancy next season should they decide to go with a lefty/righty platoon.
Getting back on track now, still in the fourth, Moore is on third with one out. Maxwell hit a grounder to short and Moore was thrown out at the plate as he was moving on contact. Justin Maxwell was able to nab a rare stolen base off of Molina and later scored on a Brett Wallace single. That was all the scoring that the Astros offense was able to muster up against Cardinals pitching tonight.
Norris cruised through the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings before running into trouble in the seventh. He had runners on first and second with nobody out and got a big strikeout of Kozma for the first out of the inning. It was the first out that he recorded in the eighth inning all season long. Tony DeFrancesco went to the bullpen and brought in closer Wilton Lopez who was able to get out of the jame unscathed. Lopez came back out for the ninth and allowed a lead-off single, but quickly erased the runner on a double-play to short. He ended the game on a groundout to short to get Bud his first victory in his past eighteen starts.
The Astros finished their final home game of the season with a win over the Cardinals which was nice to see. The Astros enjoy their final off day of the season before traveling to Miller Park to take on the Brewers.