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Astros fall to Norris, Orioles 6-3
Thursday - 8/1/2013, 11:38pm EDT
AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Houston Astros knew it was going to be strange facing Bud Norris. They also knew it would be difficult.
Check, and check.
One day after being traded by the Astros, Norris dominated his former teammates over six innings in his Orioles debut, and Baltimore got a home run from Chris Davis in a 6-3 victory Thursday night.
The only runs Norris (7-9) allowed were on solo homers by Brett Wallace and Mark Krauss.
The right-hander gave up four hits, walked two, and his season-high eight strikeouts included three by cleanup hitter Chris Carter.
"The biggest thing is before the game starts," Wallace said. "Obviously hearing his name and hearing his walk-out music, he came out to the same song. Just everything. Seeing him out there warming up against you was really surreal and it was kind of weird. But I think once the game started and we were in the box against him, you block that stuff out."
From that point, Norris took over.
"Just typical Bud Norris," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Great command, pitched to both sides of the plate. I thought he did a really good job of throwing some good sliders in some hitters' counts. He kind of took advantage of a little bit of over-aggressiveness from some of our guys."
Davis hit his major league-leading 39th home run off Travis Blackley in the seventh, a solo shot that gave him 100 RBIs for the season. He is the 39th player in club history to reach the 100 RBI mark and the first since Nick Markakis in 2009.
On this night, however, the story was Norris, who spent his entire big league career with Houston until he was dealt to the Orioles for outfielder L.J. Hoes and a minor league prospect on Wednesday.
Because the Astros scratched Norris from his scheduled start against Baltimore on Tuesday, he was well rested before heading to the mound.
Eager to contribute to a contender after leaving a team with the worst record in the majors, Norris made a favorable impression in his first start. He had at least one strikeout in every inning and left with Baltimore ahead 5-2.
"These guys got a great club over here," Norris said. "I just want to bring my part to the table."
Jim Johnson worked the ninth for his 37th save.
Hoes got his first major-league hit, a third-inning single that snapped a 0-for-10 streak that began last year. He also got his first career RBI on a run-scoring grounder in the eighth.
But Houston blew a 2-0 lead and missed a chance to win its first series since June 18-20, against Milwaukee.
The Orioles took two of three from the Astros by cranking up their sputtering offense. Baltimore totaled only 15 hits in its previous three games and had gone eight straight games without reaching double digits in hits before getting 11 against Houston starter Jordan Lyles (4-5) and two relievers.
Lyles allowed five runs, three earned, and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings. He is 0-4 in seven starts since June 18,
"Same story. I've got to pitch better when guys are on base," the right-hander said. "I haven't been good. It might be a little bit of bad luck, but it starts with me, it finishes with me."
After Wallace connected in the second inning and Krauss homered in the fourth, Baltimore grabbed the lead with a three-run fifth. Henry Urrutia hit a one-out single and shortstop Jonathan Villar misplayed a grounder before Nate McLouth and Manny Machado followed with RBI singles. Markakis had a sacrifice fly.
Brian Roberts and McLouth hit run-scoring singles in the sixth to provide the Orioles with a three-run cushion.
NOTES: Davis ended his franchise-record run of 24 straight games with a strikeout. ... Houston 2B Jose Altuve was held out of the starting lineup to rest his sore left quad, manager Bo Porter said. ... Norris is the 14th pitcher to start for the Orioles this season, most since 1998. He is the 25th player to pitch for Baltimore in 2013. ... Porter announced his rotation for the weekend series in Minnesota: RHP Jarred Cosart on Friday, LHP Erik Bedard on Saturday and LHP Dallas Keuchel. ... Chris Tillman starts for the Orioles on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series against Seattle. He is 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA against the Mariners since they traded him to Baltimore in 2008. ... The Astros recalled Jimmy Paredes from Triple-A Oklahoma City. He started at 2B. ... Orioles CF Adam Jones turned 28 on Thursday. ... Houston's Robbie Grossman went 6 for 8 in the series.
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