Carter's homer the difference for Norris, Astros

Two-run blast plates the game's only runs after starting pitchers duel

Carter's homer the difference for Norris, Astros

ANAHEIM -- Both starting pitchers were lights-out, but a Chris Carter home run in the seventh inning was the difference as the Astros defeated the Angels, 2-0, on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.

With two outs in a scoreless game, Carter got a first-pitch sinker from Angels starter Jerome Williams and crushed it over the left-field wall.

The homer gave Carter 11 on the season and, coupled with six shutout innings from Bud Norris, lifted the Astros to their fourth straight victory -- the team's longest winning streak since May 21-25, 2012.

"This group's coming together," Norris said. "Day in and day out, guys are picking each other up. From the bullpen to the bench players to everybody, it's a 25-man roster, and really, top to bottom, everybody is picking up their end of the bargain, and it's been good to see."

The Astros are now 5-3 against the Angels and have guaranteed themselves at least a split of the four-game set.

"We're getting to that point where we're making those crucial plays, we're making those crucial pitches, we're getting the big hits," manager Bo Porter said.

For the third time in as many starts, Norris stifled the Angels' offense, pitching six shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out five.

Norris is now 3-0 against the Angels and has allowed just one run in 21 innings of work. At Angel Stadium he has shut out the Angels in 13 innings. But although he has dominated the Angels thus far, he knows they have a talented lineup capable of scoring a lot of runs.

"That's Bud, outstanding," Porter said. "He did a great job. I'll tell you what, his slider was really good tonight. He actually looked like he had a little bit more on his fastball. I looked up there a couple of times and saw a couple of 94s, 95s. He pitched with a lot of energy, a lot of passion."

"I'm sure they're going to find some things on me here soon," Norris said. "They're a good lineup, they know what they're doing over there, but I've got to stick to my strengths and keep going out there and doing what I'm doing because obviously, it's ben working so far."

After issuing a one-out walk in the second, Norris retired 10 straight.

"We've seen enough of him," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We just didn't hit too many balls hard off him. We had a couple of infield hits, and he got tough with guys in scoring position. He pitched a good game for them."

Williams, making possibly his last start before being sent back to the bullpen, was nearly as effective, pitching seven innings and allowing just two runs on three hits.

"Jerome pitched a strong game and certainly deserved a better fate. We just couldn't support him," Scioscia said.

Neither team was presented with many opportunities to score -- there were only six hits through six innings of play.

Designated hitter Carlos Pena led off the second with a double, but Carter followed with a strikeout, Jimmy Paredes grounded out and Matt Dominguez flied out to end the inning. The Astros would not get another runner into scoring position until Carter's home run.

"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."

Angels center fielder Mike Trout hit a pair of one-out doubles -- one in the first and one in the sixth -- but never advanced to third. His bloop double in the first was followed by strikeouts of Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo. In the sixth, Trout was picked off.

After picking off Trout, Norris would walk a pair and surrender an infield single to load the bases with two outs, but he struck out Howie Kendrick to end the threat.

Closer Jose Veras put on a pair of baserunners in the ninth but came away with his 10th save of the season, and the Astros continue to build momentum.

"Winning is definitely contagious," Porter said. "When you start to win, you start to feel even better about yourself. I felt like, even when we were playing close games and not coming out with the wins, I felt like the guys were gaining more and more confidence, but I think that confidence is even building more now because we are turning well-played games into wins."

William Boor is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.