Bud Norris picked up his second win of the year tonight as the Astros won their fifth straight 8-2 over St. Louis. Cards starter Jaime Garcia was his own worst enemy, walking three in the first inning before serving up a grand slam to Chris Johnson. Norris made the most of his early lead, allowing only one unearned run in six innings of work. Norris struck out four, walked four and gave up three hits. Nice enough numbers, but there’s more to the story.
Norris had his slider working to perfection and Cardinals batters were taking some ugly swings against it. In the sixth inning it looked like Norris would repeat his recent pattern of running out of gas around 90 pitches and blowing a lead. Norris walked the bases loaded with two outs and that’s when Brad Mills made a visit to the mound to help Bud regain focus. Norris got Yadier Molina on a grounder to shortstop and left the game with a 6-1 lead. The bullpen got the job done again tonight, helping Norris improve his career record against the Cardinals to 7-2.
Jed Lowrie provided some insurance in the eighth with what was originally ruled a double. After further review, video showed that Lowrie’s drive cleared the yellow line atop the leftfield wall and he was awarded his fourth homerun of the season. The six run lead gave Mills enough breathing room to bring in mop-up man Fernando Abad. Much to the surprise of 23,633 fans at Minute Maid Park, Abad was able to retire the Cardinals without allowing a homer and let the fans savor the victory while enjoying the Cinco de Mayo fireworks display.