(Eds: Serves as 1st Ld-Writethru on state lines. ) By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer After a 6-11 season in 2011, Bud Norris approached Astros manager Brad Mills and said he wanted to be a different pitcher.
Now he's proving he was serious about a turnaround. He's won each of his four starts in May and his 0.35 ERA this month is a major-league best for a starter.
''I knew that I needed to take that next step in my career,'' the 27-year-old said. ''Going into my third full season I really wanted to make some more strides. I just told him that I was going to go out there and be accountable and be one of those guys that's going to pitch six, seven, eight innings every time.''
Houston pitching coach Doug Brocail always saw Norris as a talented pitcher, but said that in the past, he was lacking a key ingredient for success.
''Bud's a guy that I think early in his career up in the major leagues didn't know how to win,'' Brocail said. ''And that's just not learned overnight. Now we're...