Astros-Dodgers Preview

The Associated Press

There's probably nobody other than Bud Norris that the Houston Astros would want on the mound as they try to match their longest winning streak of 2012.

Norris looks to win his fifth straight start and help the visiting Astros reach the .500 mark with a fifth consecutive victory Saturday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Norris (5-1, 3.14 ERA) went 1-1 with a 5.46 ERA in five April starts, but has allowed two runs - one earned - and 15 hits while striking out 29 over 26 innings to go 4-0 in May.

"He realizes what he has to do and he builds on it,'' manager Brad Mills said. "When you get him out there in situations, he's able to make adjustments as he goes along from start to start. If this didn't go right, he finds out why and then he analyzes it, tries to improve and get better.''

Norris allowed five hits and fanned eight Monday in seven innings of an 8-4 victory over the NL-worst Cubs on Monday.

"I'm definitely in a rhythm right now,'' Norris said. "Things have been there for me and I just want to keep it going.''

History says he may be able to, even against a Dodgers team with a major-league best 30-15 record.

Norris, 1-1 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts versus Los Angeles, has allowed three hits in 13 scoreless innings while not getting a decision in his last two outings against the Dodgers - both at Chavez Ravine.

After sweeping a three-game home series from the Cubs, Houston (22-23) snapped a four-game road skid with a 3-1 victory in Friday's series opener. Lucas Harrell threw 7 1-3 solid innings and J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer for the Astros, who now will look to get back to .500 for the first time since they were 4-4 on April 14.

Houston, which is 6-13 away from Minute Made Park, has not won two straight on the road since April 25 and 2, at Milwaukee and Cincinnati.

"You want to get to a point where some guys are able to be rewarded for their good play," Mills told the Astros' official website.

Martinez is 6 for 11 with six RBIs in the last three games after going 5 for 54 in his previous 17 contests.

While the Astros are playing well, the Dodgers are trying to avoid a season-high third straight defeat. Los Angeles fell to 19-5 at home after scoring its lone run Friday on a bases-loaded walk.

Andre Ethier went 1 for 4, but is still hitting .421 (8 for 19) in his last five games.

The Dodgers hand the ball to Chad Billingsley (2-3, 3.91), who is 0-3 with a 5.20 ERA in seven starts since beating Pittsburgh on April 11. He gave up five runs - three earned - and walked four in six innings of Los Angeles' 6-5 win over St. Louis on Sunday.

"It's just the way the game is, you can't do anything about it," Billingsley told the Dodgers' official website.

The right-hander wasn't very effective during a 12-0 loss at Houston on April 22, though he also didn't get much help defensively. The Dodgers committed three errors as Billingsley allowed nine runs - five earned - and two home runs while walking four in 3 1-3 innings. He fell to 4-4 with a 4.96 ERA in his career against the Astros.

What to Read Next