HOUSTON (AP) – Houston starter Bud Norris spoke to manager Brad Mills before the season about being more consistent and pitching deeper into games this year.
So far, Norris is getting just what he wanted.
Carlos Lee had three hits, including his first homer since April 22, and three RBIs to back another solid outing by Norris, and the Houston Astros beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-3 on Wednesday night.
Norris (4-1) yielded four hits and a run with a season-high nine strikeouts in seven innings, improving to 3-0 in his last four starts to help Houston end a four-game skid.
“He came in saying he wanted to have a different year this year and I think with the way he’s gone about his business and gone about how he’s pitched has been along those lines,” Mills said. “There’s no reason to think that’s going to change as he continues to put together good outing after good outing.”
The team is 7-1 in his eight starts this season and he’s pitched fewer than six innings just once this year.
“I’m growing up and I guess I’m getting a little older and a little wiser,” the 27-year-old said. “Each offseason I’m going to try to make strides in the right direction and I’ve got a lot of people around me helping.”
Lee’s home run was a solo shot to left-center field in the seventh inning that put Houston up 8-1. His third homer of the season came just moments after he narrowly avoided being hit by a foul ball from J.D. Martinez while waiting in the on-deck circle.
“It was too close,” he said. “If the ball is coming right at you, you’re so close right there that by the time you react, the ball’s already by you. So it’s scary to be out there.”
Lee looked a bit shaken after ducking to avoid the ball and running out of the way. He recovered by the time he was at the plate, and the homer was the culmination of a good night for Lee, who singled and scored in the second then drove in two runs with a single in Houston’s three-run third.