Bailey goes for his fourth win over Houston in 2011 on Tuesday night when the Reds try to avoid losing five straight for the first time since May.
After allowing two or fewer homers in his first 19 starts, Bailey (8-7, 4.43 ERA) was tagged for a pair of first-inning two-run shots Thursday before throwing five scoreless frames in an 8-6, 11-inning victory over Chicago.
“I found the release point that I needed,” he said after striking out a season high-tying nine.
That’s definitely been the case against Houston (53-100) in 2011, with the native of La Grange, Texas, going 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts.
Bailey, looking to set a career high in wins, threw six innings of one-run ball the last time he faced the Astros at home, a 10-4 win May 5.
The Reds (74-80) could use another quality start from Bailey following a 3-2 series-opening loss Monday when the bullpen gave up three runs in four innings. Cincinnati’s relievers have allowed four homers and 10 runs during the four-game skid.
The offense also hasn’t done much during that stretch, scoring seven times while batting .140.
“We hit the ball on the ground for some double plays at the wrong time,” said manager Dusty Baker, whose team had won 15 of 19 at home against Houston. “We haven’t hit very well the last three games.”
The right-hander makes his first career appearance in Cincinnati. He is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts in this matchup after giving up three runs and a career high-tying 10 hits in five innings of a 4-3, 10-inning victory Aug. 1.
Norris, who is looking to avoid a career high in losses, has among the lowest run-support averages in the NL at 3.53 and has started four times in 1-0 defeats. The latest was Wednesday versus Philadelphia.
“You’ve got to keep the same mindset that you’ll keep the game close and give your team an opportunity to win,” Norris told the Astros’ official website.
He went 2 for 3 with a go-ahead solo shot Monday when he played in the outfield for the first time.
“I don’t know if I thrive in those situations, but I like them,” said Downs, who has also played all four infield positions. “You can turn the game around with one at-bat. It felt great.”
He’s batting .403 (25 for 62) with three homers and 12 RBIs in his last 30 games.
Cincinnati needs to win one of the final two games of this series to avoid its second sub.-500 home record in three years.