Norris has big start in Astros win vs. Rays

Norris has big start in Astros win vs. Rays
July 3, 2013, 11:30 pm
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Porter on Bud Norris' stellar start vs. Rays

Four pitches into Wednesday’s game with Tampa Bay, Bud Norris was in trouble. The first two Rays had singled, though neither ball was hit hard. However, the Astros right-hander came out of the inning allowing only a sacrifice fly.

Norris limited the damage in the first inning and Chris Carter did the damage for Houston with two home runs in a 4-1 Astros win, making a winner out of Norris (6-7), who held the Rays to just that one run over seven innings.

“He did a great job of minimizing the damage,” said Astros manager Bo Porter. “He was able to do that by pitching to both sides of the plate and was able to get out of a jam. It could have ended up being a crooked number, he kept it at one.

“He’s our No. 1 guy and he pitched like a No. 1 guy tonight.”

Norris allowed only six hits with five strikeouts and three walks. At Minute Maid Park Norris is something else. His 3.27 career ERA at MMP is the third lowest ever as he passed Carlos Zambrano (3.28) on Wednesday.

Norris pitching out of the first inning jam was pivotal in Houston’s first win in six games. After Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce singled, Jennings scored on a sacrifice fly from Ben Zobrist. Norris then got Evan Longoria to fly out to J.D. Martinez in right field and James Loney grounded out to shortstop Ronny Cedeno for the third out.

Limiting Tampa Bay to the one run was crucial. Tampa Bay outscored the Astros 20-0 over the first two games of the four-game series.

“It’s huge,” said Norris. “You have to pitch around situations like that. You can’t get too overwhelmed by first and third and nobody out. They got the first one in but nothing happened from there.”

Norris’ slider had unbelievable depth and he was pitching to both sides of the plate. He threw some good changeups in hitter’s counts and he had his secondary pitches working.

“I threw a lot more breaking balls,” said Norris. “That’s a good lineup over there. You can’t just sit with heaters.”

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