Brewers-Astros Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 16, 2012
On the verge of their longest losing streak of the season, the Houston Astros might be thankful that it's Bud Norris' turn in the rotation. He might not feel the same way, however, about facing the Milwaukee Brewers or having to pitch opposite left-hander Randy Wolf. While Wolf will seek a sixth straight win over Houston, Norris will try to help the Astros snap a four-game skid Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park. Houston (15-21) is 2-7 in its last nine with the two victories by one run apiece. Norris (3-1, 3.95 ERA) earned one of those Friday by giving up three hits over six innings and matching a season high with eight strikeouts in Pittsburgh. He also worked out of a bases-loaded jam in his final frame of that 1-0 victory and did the same during an 8-2 home win over St. Louis on May 5 in which he allowed only one unearned run over six innings. "He knows he's got enough good stuff to work through that, and he did for the second time in a row," manager Brad Mills told the team's website. "We wish he wouldn't have to go through it like that, but at the same time, it's good to see him battle and tighten the screws a little bit." Norris, though, hasn't worked himself out of too many jams against the Brewers (16-20) as he's 0-3 with a 10.13 ERA in his last three matchups. He matched a career high by giving up seven runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 9-6 loss at Miller Park on April 24. Wolf (2-3, 5.63) was also the opposing starter in that game, and allowed two runs and four hits over six innings. The veteran left-hander is 5-0 with a 1.32 ERA in his last seven starts against Houston and has surrendered one run in each of his last two outings at Minute Maid Park, although he didn't receive a decision in either game. He's also coming off one of his best performances of the season. Wolf tossed six scoreless innings Friday against the Chicago Cubs but did not get a decision in an 8-7 home victory. He'll next face a team that snapped an 11-game skid to the Brewers last month. The Astros have dropped six straight at home to their NL Central rivals and might not be at their freshest as they've played 31 innings over the last three games. They rallied for two runs in the ninth inning Tuesday in Philadelphia but Brett Myers gave up a homer to former teammate Hunter Pence in the 10th for a 4-3 defeat. The Brewers, meanwhile, are 4-11 in their last 15 road games, but produced an 8-0 rout at the New York Mets on Tuesday behind Travis Ishikawa's two homers and career-high five RBIs. Rickie Weeks also snapped an 0-for-21 skid with a solo homer, and Aramis Ramirez extended his hit streak to 12 games. Ramirez is 5 for 11 (.455) with two home runs in his career against Norris and is batting .400 in his last 17 games against the Astros. He's also 11 for 21 (.521) during a five-game hit streak in Houston.
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