Norris left after 1.2 innings
Although Houston Astros starting pitcher Bud Norris had an overall fantastic May, his last start of the month was a big disappointment. Norris coughed up a career-high nine runs in 1.2 innings while working through a hip flexor injury.
Astros right-hander Bud Norris had a chance to stop a losing streak and stake a claim on National League Pitcher of the Month.
The Rockies did everything but burn Norris at the stake.
Colorado lit into Norris for nine runs in the first two innings to polish off a sweep of a four-game series with an 11-5 victory over the Astros on Thursday night at Coors Field.
Norris came into the game 4-0 over five starts in May, with a big-league-best 1.17 ERA in the month. He left after 1 2/3 innings -- the second-shortest start of his career -- having allowed a career-high nine runs. Trying to work through a sore hip flexor that had him throwing cautiously, Norris allowed four earned runs before he'd retired a batter, the same number of earned runs he'd given up all month.
The first-inning woes continued a trend in the series. The Rockies scored 15 of their 40 runs in the first inning.
"Tough trip for us," Norris said. "I really wanted to go out there and have a good one. The hip flexor was a little sore, and I tweaked it bad, and that didn't help. I tried to bulldog through it, but I made a couple mistakes, and they've been swinging the bat well."
The Astros have had a lot of tough trips. Their 1-6 record on their latest trip drops them to 6-19 overall on the road. Manager Brad Mills has given the matter some thought.
"One of the biggest things is, we don't get our opportunity to come out and do a lot of our early work (on the road)," Mills said. "We can do that at home, and we come out do a lot of infield work, a lot of running. Pitchers hit on the field. Does that have anything to do with it? It might, as far as getting ready to play."
Looks as if the Astros won't be easing up on the early work at home anytime soon.
"When you say easing up, it sounds like a grind for these guys," Mills said. "And I don't think it is. I think it's something they really enjoy, because they know they're getting better. It's not meant as a punishment or a forceful-type event. It's something you go through to help you get better, and the guys realize that."
Astros Notes & Quotes
2B Jose Altuve went 3-for-5, breaking a tie for second with the Cubs' Starlin Castro for most multiple-hit games his season (22). Altuve went 8-for-20 in the series at Colorado, lifting his average from .307 to .317.
C Jason Castro went 2-for-4, his first multiple-hit game since May 13. He tripled home a run during a three-run fourth inning.
SS Jed Lowrie had his fourth three-hit game of the month. A 3-for-5 performance Thursday turned a .238 road trip (5-for-21) into a .308 road trip (8-for-26).
LF J.D. Martinez homered for the second time of the seven-game road trip, a second-inning shot to right off Rockies RHP Jeremy Guthrie. Martinez, who has hit safely in 11 of his past 14 games, regained the team lead in RBI (28).
RHP Brandon Lyon wasn't immune to the Astros' Coors Field woes. Lyon, whose 0.78 ERA at Coors entering Thursday was the lowest of any pitcher who had worked 20 or more innings there, allowed a home run to Marco Scutaro in his lone inning.
RHP Bud Norris needed only 52 pitches to send his ERA soaring from 3.34 to 4.52. The rough outing at Colorado snapped a career-long four-game winning streak for Norris, who has helped the team to an 8-3 record in his starts.
"Really, it's not just about one start," Norris said. "It's about 30 you make, and how many innings you eat up and how you can keep this team in the ballgame and winning games. I'm going to look at it, get some info out of it, but I'm going to try to flush it. We've still got a lot left in this season. I've still got a lot left in me."
By the Numbers: 15 – First-inning runs the Astros allowed while getting swept by the Rockies in a four-game series at Coors Field.
Quote to Note: "We've played so well at home. We started to take that on the road and then kind of lost track, fell off the course we were on. Hopefully coming back home, we can right the ship a little bit." -- C Jason Castro, on the Astros falling to 6-19 on the road while having a 16-10 home record.