HOUSTON (AP) - The Astros are wondering what else can go wrong.
A night after blowing a six-run lead to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Astros fell behind by six runs before falling 11-3 on Saturday night.
``We're not the luckiest team in the world right now,' Houston second baseman Bill Hall said. ``Hopefully that changes. You need breaks to win ball games. And we're not catching them more than we're getting them right now.'
Zach Duke allowed three hits over seven innings in his first start of the season and hit the first home run of his career, a three-run shot in the fourth inning. Meanwhile, Arizona victimized Houston starter Bud Norris early.
The Diamondbacks were leading 3-0 in the fourth when Duke hit an unlikely opposite-field home run that put the Astros down 6-0. Houston never recovered.
``Well we haven't had one like that in a while,' Astros manager Brad Mills said. ``We've been playing really well and in all those games. That's probably the biggest shock. If we were able to make a couple of plays, Bud gets out of the inning with just a couple of runs and is able to go a little bit further into the game.
``Offensively, Duke threw the ball well in his first outing and only allowed one guy to get to second base in the seven innings. I was glad to see us stay aggressive at the plate.'
The Diamondbacks took a 2-0 lead in the second on the first of four hits Stephen Drew and a sacrifice fly by Gerardo Parra.
Drew singled again to start the fourth and was safe at second on an error by Hall. That started the four-run inning. An RBI hit by Miguel Montero and Duke's homer put the Astros in a big hole.
Duke's homer followed an intentional walk.
``You just keep working,' Mills said. ``Those things happen. You've got to keep battling. You don't put your head down and whine. Those guys got a bat in their hand and they're going to do some damage every now and again.'
Norris (2-4) lasted five innings and lost his third straight decision.
``I wasn't very sharp today,' Norris said. ``I definitely didn't catch a couple of breaks. My track record against this team has been that way, unfortunately. You live and learn. It's all about making adjustments. I've got to get better next time.'
Norris moved up in the rotation to replace Wandy Rodriguez, who went on the 15-day disabled list with fluid on his left elbow.
``That's no excuse,' Norris said. ``Whenever the manager wants to give me the ball, I'm going to go out there and pitch. We didn't know exactly what was going to happen with Wandy and obviously we're disappointed that he went down. We need him in there, but we just hope he comes back healthy. ``
Norris agonized over Duke's homer.
``You get ahead 0-2 to the pitcher and you make what you thought was a good pitch and then, first row,' Norris said. ``It's a tough one to swallow. It's the first home run I've given up to a pitcher. You have to give him credit for putting the bat on the ball.'
The Astros finally got three runs in the ninth off Zach Kroenke.
It was too little too late.
``He was throwing some changeups,' Hall said. ``I had faced him in the past and had gotten some pretty good numbers off of him. I felt comfortable. He kept switching it up on people and kept guys off balance.
``We missed the barrel a lot and the times we did get the barrel on the ball, we hit right to someone. He got out to an early lead and built on it.'
Hall wasn't pleased with the error.
``You cannot give an error for that play,' Hall said. ``I don't know why they gave me one. A guy slides in and he and the ball hits me at the same time. So the ball was out before I even caught it, so I don't know how they can give me an error on that one.'
Still, the Astros aren't feeling unlucky.
``That's baseball from time to time,' Hall said. ``We've been getting games like that a lot this year. You don't want to dwell on it, but it's just the facts.'
Notes: Duke had a four-hitter against the Astros on April 13, 2009. ... Earlier this season, the Diamondbacks lost six straight games by one run. They've now won seven in a row by one run, including Friday night's 7-6 victory after trailing 6-0 in the fourth inning. ... After placing Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list, the Astros called up Jordan Lyles from Triple-A Oklahoma City. An MRI on Saturday revealed fluid buildup in Rodriguez's left elbow. Lyles will make his major league debut Tuesday against the Cubs.
The Associated Press News Service
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