HOUSTON -- Houston starter Bud Norris is still looking for his first win in a month,
The right-hander tied a season high by allowing six runs as the Astros fell to 40 games below .500 for the first time since 1963 with their third straight loss to Milwaukee, 7-3, Sunday.Norris (5-8) gave up eight hits in five innings and didn't have a 1-2-3 inning. The Brewers had the leadoff man on in the first four innings.Norris faced trouble in the first inning, hitting leadoff man Nyjer Morgan with a pitch and giving up a two-run homer to right field to Prince Fielder."They're in first place for a reason," Norris said. "Those guys can hit. I didn't make all the pitches I wanted to make, and they hit all the bad ones. ... I tried to go out there and put up a zero real quick, but that didn't happen today, and we came out on the wrong end. That's how it's been all year for us unfortunately."Norris said he threw Fielder a slider, which he thought was a good pitch."It was the same pitch he hit off (Brett) Myers last night," Norris said. "We've gotten him out with it before, but the guy's hot right now."The Astros were kept at bay by Brewers starter Zack Greinke (10-4), who allowed just one run and four hits over seven innings, tying his longest outing of the season.Greinke didn't allow a hit until Clint Barmes' leadoff single in the third. The Astros put runners on first and second with two outs in the inning, but Barmes was caught leading off second too far, and Greinke caught him in a rundown trying to steal third."I hit three balls really well," Barmes said. "I got a hit out of one of them and the other two were hit hard but right at guys. Obviously, the way he threw the ball, showed that he was tough, coming at us with movement on all his pitches. He was tough on us, that's for sure. The last six times we've seen them, it hasn't been pretty for us. It's safe to say they're a pretty good team."Houston manager Brad Mill had praise for Greinke."He showed that breaking ball late in the count that got us off balance a little bit," Mills said. "And with a few guys, it seemed like he was really trying to expose them a lot to that breaking ball. He was able to offset with the fastball. The location of the fastball set it up for him."The Astros were unable to put any momentum together until the sixth inning when Jose Altuve drove in pinch-hitter Matt Downs. Carlos Lee added two more runs in the eighth inning when a single scored both Brian Bogusevic and Altuve, a mistake that happened to work out when the rookie second baseman missed the stop sign by third base coach Dave Clark."I didn't see it," Altuve said. "All I was thinking about was that we have two outs. I ran with my head down. I know I made a mistake. I can't let that happen again. I have to see his sign. They told me I have to be 100 percent sure I'm going home on the play."Felipe Lopez and Mark Kotsay hit RBI singles in the fourth and Betancourt hit a two-run single in the fifth. He added a run-scoring hit in the seventh to make it 7-1.
Houston INF Matt Downs broke an 0-for-24 slump with a pinch-hit double in the sixth. ... Houston begins a four-game series at Arizona on Monday with LHP Wandy Rodriguez (7-8) starting against RHP Daniel Hudson (11-7). Rodriguez has lost his last four against the Diamondbacks since 2007.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
HOUSTON - AUGUST 07: Pitcher Bud Norris #20 of the Houston Astros throws in the first inning against the Milwaukee...
22,885 (54.4% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
Home Plate - Adrian Johnson, First Base - Cory Blaser, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Gary Cederstrom
For most of the season, Zack Greinke's peripheral numbers have not matched up with his ERA. Greinke's massive strikeout rate increase this season has been mitigated by an increase in his home run rate, which is almost double his career average.
However, over the last few starts, Greinke has started to see his ERA drop rapidly, bringing it more in line with what his peripherals would suggest.
Through July 7 Since
ERA 5.66 1.63
Strikeout rate 30.3 30.7
Opp Slug pct .476 .368
>>ERA has dropped from 5.66 to 4.21 over span