As Hal Smith put it in 1962, "We didn't come out here to play tiddlywinks, son." Astros win, 8-3.
*The win gives the Astros an 11-8 record at home, which ties them for the 3rd-best home record in the NL. Unfortunately, the 5-13 road record is the worst in the NL.
*The Astros scored eight runs on eight hits - that's the second time this season they've scored 8+ runs with eight or fewer hits. It's also the 12th straight game the Astros haven't reached double-digit hits, but the seven walks sure were nice.
*Bud Norris got the start, and walked Ryan Braun with two outs in the first inning - which was the first time Norris had walked a batter in the 1st inning this season (and the first time since September 9, 2011). He also walked Travis Ishakawa in the 2nd inning, marking the first time since August 12, 2011 that he walked a batter in each of the first two innings.
*Carlos Lee led off the bottom of the 2nd with a single, followed by a Jed Lowrie double (scoring Lee), and a Justin Maxwell single (scoring Lowrie), to take a 2-0 lead after two innings. The Astros are 10-5 when starting the 3rd inning with the lead.
*Norris led off the 3rd with a single (his 4th hit of the season, breaking the tie in the neck-and-neck race with Lucas Harrell for most hits by a pitcher). With a Jose Altuve single and a J.D. Martinez walk, Carlos Lee brought in Norris and Altuve with a single. After Jed Lowrie reached second on an error by Corey Hart (Martinez scored), the Astros had a 5-0 lead after three.
*That gave Carlos Lee three RsBI, a season-high, and his 5th multi-RBI game of the season.
*Corey Hart homered to lead off the 4th inning. It was the 1st homer he's allowed that led off the inning, but the 4th (of six) he's allowed with 0 outs. The last time Norris gave up a jack was April 24...at Milwaukee.
*Jason Castro led off the 4th with a walk, and after Norris bunted him over to 2nd, Jordan Schafer came through with an RBI single. This gave him hits in back-to-back games, the first time that's happened since his eight-game hit streak came to an end on April 29/30.
*After Martinez's sac fly in the 4th gave the Astros a 7-1 lead, Randy Wolf and Vinnie Chulk and Tim Dillard set down nine Astros in a row until Carlos Lee hit a monster shot in the bottom of the 7th. The 431-foot homer - according to HitTrackerOnline - was the longest HR hit by an Astro this season, and the longest HR hit by Carlos Lee since September 11, 2009, when he hit a 432' homer off of Pittsburgh's Jesse Chavez. He hit four homers over 430' in 2009. And one - last night's - since.
*So things just sort of trucked along at 8-1, until the 9th inning when Rhiner Cruz - coming out for his 2nd inning of work - walked Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart to start the inning. Edwin Maysonet flew out, and pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy tripled to score both baserunners, and provide the final 8-3 margin. Cruz has allowed seven hits and eight walks in 11.1IP. In his last six games (6IP), Cruz has given up 3H/4ER, 3K:8BB.
*Of course the Astros won, and that means that they are 7-1 in games Bud Norris starts on the season.
*Man of the Match: Going with Bud Norris here, who came off his last appearance against the Brewers (that's the one loss) with 9H/7ER, 3HR to post a 4H/1ER, 9K:2BB outing.
*Goat of the Game: No Goat. Too good a mood.
*The Point At Which This Game, In Particular, Changed, For Better Or Worse: The 3-run 3rd inning, starting with Bud Norris' single. Five of the first six batters of the inning reached base, and the Astros rode it out from there.