ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Once this four-game series with the Houston Astros is finished, the Angels won't see them again until the end of the month. Perhaps by then, they will be able to figure out how to score against Bud Norris.
Norris dominated the Angels' high-priced lineup for the third time this season with six innings of four-hit ball and Chris Carter hit a two-run homer in the seventh against Jerome Williams, leading the Astros to a 2-0 victory on Saturday night.
``Every time he pitches against us he's got his A stuff,' Angels center fielder Mike Trout said. ``He was hitting his spots early and locating, and his secondary pitches were good. It was one of those nights. We see him good. I mean, we hit a couple of balls hard and had our opportunities, but it just didn't go our way tonight.'
On April 12 at the ``Big A,' Norris allowed three hits over seven innings in a 5-0 victory. On May 8, he gave up a run and nine hits through eight innings en route to a 3-1 decision at Houston.
``We've seen enough of him,' manager Mike Scioscia said. ``It seems every time we see him he still is able to use that breaking ball when he needs it, and tonight his velocity was good. We just didn't hit too many balls hard off him. We had a couple infield hits, but he got tough with guys in scoring position.'
Norris (5-4) struck out six, walked three and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth to end a winless streak of three starts.
``They're a great ballclub over there. You know who's in that lineup, and you know you've got to make good pitches. So the only way to play it is to just take the challenge,' said Norris, who has made 177 starts in professional ball without pitching a complete game - including 109 in the big leagues.
Trout doubled in the Angels' first, but was stranded when Albert Pujols took a called third strike and Mark Trumbo also struck out. Trout doubled again with one out in the sixth, and was picked off by Norris with a 1-0 count on Pujols.
The Angels then loaded the bases with walks to Pujols and Trumbo and an infield hit by Josh Hamilton. But Norris struck out Howie Kendrick, who is batting .227 lifetime in those situations and is 1 for 7 this season.
``It was a little hot and muggy out there, so I just took my time in between pitches and I just got in a groove,' Norris said. ``I'm sure they're going to figure out some things about me soon. But I've got to stick to my strengths and keep doing what I'm doing because it's been working so far.'
Trout had a chance to get the Angels back in the game in the seventh against rookie Jose Cisnero, but grounded out to third with two men on after Erick Aybar kept the inning alive with a bunt single. He came up again in the ninth against Jose Veras with runners at the corners and grounded into a force to end it.
Trout has only three RBIs in 45 at_bats over his last 11 games since May 21, when he drove in five runs against Seattle and became the youngest player in AL history to hit for the cycle.
``Tonight we had some chances with runners in scoring position and couldn't get it done,' Scioscia said.
Williams (4-2) held Houston to just three hits over seven innings and struck out six, after going 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA in his previous four starts.
``Good job by Jerome again,' Scioscia said. ``Outside of the first hitter, when he was trying to search for some things, he had good command up until he made a mistake with a sinker to Carter and left it up over the heart of the plate.'
Carlos Pena, the only Houston player to have batted against Williams in a regular-season game before Saturday, led off the Astros' second with a double and was stranded at third when Matt Dominguez flied out. The Astros didn't get another hit until the seventh, when J.D. Martinez singled with one out and Carter drove a first-pitch homer into the upper tier of the left field bullpen with two out for his 11th of the season.
``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.'
Cisnero pitched two innings and Veras recorded his 10th save in 13 attempts, helping extend Houston's winning streak to a season-high four games. It's their longest since a four-game stretch last May.
NOTES: Five of Houston's 19 victories have come against the Angels. ... Angels OF Peter Bourjos, sidelined since April 30 because of a left hamstring strain, is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Monday with Class-A Inland Empire before switching to Triple-A Salt Lake. ... In Norris' next outing following each of his previous two wins over the Angels, he was roughed up for six runs in just two-thirds of an inning at Oakland, and surrendered seven runs in five innings at Detroit.
The Associated Press News Service
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