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'Stros Seek Second In A Row Over Buccos

(Sports Network) - Streaking 25-year-old righty Bud Norris goes for double- digit wins for the first time in his career tonight, when the Houston Astros visit PNC Park in the middle test of a three-game series with the hostPittsburgh Pirates.

A sixth-round pick of the Astros in 2006, Norris was 2-7 on the season after a 12-6 loss at Pittsburgh on July 17 in which he allowed nine hits and seven runs in 4 2/3 innings. He's won six of seven decisions since then, including three in a row against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee and Washington between Sept. 9-20.

In those three starts, Norris allowed just 12 hits and five runs in 20 full innings of work.

Norris debuted in the big leagues last season and made 11 appearances (10 starts) while going 6-3 with a 4.53 earned run average in 55 2/3 innings. He's tossed 143 innings so far in 2010 and registered a 4.85 ERA.

For the Pirates, Texas-born lefty Zach Duke tries to end a three-start skid since his last victory.

The 27-year-old defeated Washington with five innings of four-run ball on Sept. 3 in Pittsburgh, but has been ripped for 21 hits and 15 runs in 11 2/3 innings in losses to Atlanta, the New York Mets and Arizona.

Duke dropped a 5-2 decision to the Astros in his last meeting with them, which took place on July 16, after giving up five hits and two runs in five innings. Lifetime against Houston, he's 2-5 in 11 outings (10 starts) with a 3.27 ERA in 66 innings.

Duke is 4-7 in 16 home starts in 2010.

In Friday's opener of this series, Hunter Pence drove in three runs as the Astros handed the Pirates their 100th loss of the season with a 10-7 decision.

Pence went 3-for-5 with two runs scored while Angel Sanchez had two hits, two RBI and two runs scored for the Astros, who had dropped their previous three games.

Houston's Brett Myers (14-7) extended his club record by going at least six innings for a 32nd straight start, which encompasses all of his appearances this season. He went six innings on Friday, but it was a shaky outing, as he gave up six runs -- five earned -- on six hits with four walks. It was enough to earn him his sixth straight winning decision, though.

Garrett Jones drove in four runs while Pedro Alvarez had two RBI for the Pirates, who reached the 100-loss plateau for the first time since 2001. Starter James McDoanld went four innings and was charged with three runs on five hits.

Bucs reliever Chris Leroux (0-1) suffered the first loss of his career after he gave up three runs on three hits while recording just one out in the sixth.

The Astros have won four straight in this series and 11 of 13 versus the Pirates this year. They are 21-7 against Pittsburgh since the start of 2009.


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