HOUSTON (AP) – The way Bud Norris has been pitching lately, the Houston Astros figure scoring two runs will be enough when he’s on the mound.

So when they scored seven in the first three innings on Monday night, the Astros were pretty confident they were headed for a win.

Jason Castro and Chris Johnson each hit three-run homers and Norris threw seven scoreless innings to give the Astros an 8-4 victory over the slumping Chicago Cubs.

Castro’s home run came in the second inning and Johnson added his in the third, to hand the Cubs their season-high seventh loss in a row.

“It’s kind of comforting knowing Bud’s on the mound, because we know if we get a couple of runs, Bud’s probably going to make that stick,” Johnson said.

Jed Lowrie homered for the second straight game, hitting a solo shot in the seventh inning to give the Astros three homers in a game for the second time in three games.

Norris (5-1) allowed five hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings. He has allowed just one earned run in his four-game winning streak.

The 27-year-old, who is in his fourth major league season, believes this is the best stretch of his career.

“I’m definitely in a rhythm right now,” he said. “I’ve been working really well with Castro. Things have been there for me and I just want to keep it going.”

Cubs starter Matt Garza (2-2) allowed five hits and season-high seven runs in three innings – his shortest start of the season.

“I left everything up,” he said. “I was overthrowing everything.”



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