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Astros' Norris continues to baffle Angels

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels have just about had their fill of Bud.

Bud Norris continued his dominance over the Angels, pitching the Houston Astros to a 2-0 victory on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.

Norris improved to 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA (one earned run in 21 innings) in three starts this season against the Angels, blanking them on four hits through six innings.

"I don't know," Norris (5-4) said when asked to explain his success against the Angels. "I'm sure they're going to find some things on me here soon.

"They're a good lineup, they know what they're doing over there, but I've got to stick to my strengths and keep going out there and doing what I'm doing because, obviously, it's been working so far. I don't know if I have any more starts against those guys, but obviously I'll be ready if I do."

Astros manager Bo Porter has seen a lot of Norris, but he seems more impressed as the season moves along.

"That's Bud," Porter said. "Outstanding. He did a great job. I'll tell you what, his slider was really good tonight. He actually looked like he had a little bit more on his fastball. I looked up there a couple times and saw a couple 94s, 95s (mph). He pitched with a lot of energy, a lot of passion, great game plan."

Norris essentially needed every zero he threw up, as Angels starter Jerome Williams was almost as good. Almost.

Williams shut out the Astros on one hit through six innings, but in the seventh, he gave up a one-out single to J.D. Martinez. Williams got what seemed was a big out when he struck out Carlos Pena for the second out of the inning, but Chris Carter hit the next pitch from Williams (4-2) into the Astros' bullpen behind the left-field fence for a two-run homer and a 2-0 Astros lead.

"Everything was working for me," Williams said. "That one pitch to Carter I just left it up. It was one mistake, and he took advantage of it and hit it out."

The Angels' biggest threat to score against Norris came in the sixth, but the Angels came up empty thanks to a big play by second baseman Jose Altuve. Mike Trout was on second after a one-out double and took a big lead. Altuve broke for the bag as Norris whirled and threw to second, picking off Trout for the second out of the inning.

"Mike was trying to get a read, and he did have a chance to steal third base if he could have gotten his read," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Those guys made a nice daylight (play) and got him."

It was a big out because the next three Angels hitters reached base. Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo walked, and Josh Hamilton had an infield single, loading the bases for Howie Kendrick. Norris, though, struck out Kendrick to end the threat.

Jose Cisnero took over for Norris to start the seventh and gave up two hits in the inning but escaped by retiring Trout on a grounder to third. Cisnero pitched a scoreless eighth and Jose Veras finished it in the ninth by getting Trout to hit into a force play with the tying runs on base for his 10th save.

The win was the Astros' fourth in a row, their longest win streak of the season, and their fifth win in six games.

NOTES: Angels RHP Ryan Madson, recovering from Tommy John surgery performed in April 2012, played catch Thursday and Friday and came out of it feeling fine. However, there is no timetable for when Madson will begin a rehab assignment. ... Angels CF Peter Bourjos ran the bases for the third time and has been cleared to begin a rehab assignment at Class A Inland Empire on Monday. Bourjos has been out since April 29 with a strained left hamstring. ... Pena went into the game hitting .385 (5 for 13) on the current road trip to Colorado and Anaheim. He has played in 54 of the Astros' 56 games this season and at least 135 games for six consecutive seasons. ... Astros C Jason Castro went into the game hitting .447 (17 for 38) with four homers, seven RBIs, a .522 OBP and .868 slugging percentage in his last 11 games. He was named the American League player of the week for May 20-26, becoming the first Astros catcher to win the award since Craig Biggio in 1990
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