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Bud Norris Hopes To Continue Hot Streak Against Rays

(Sports Network) - Bud Norris is itching for offensive support, even just one run at this point as the Astros have been shut out 1-0 in each of the right- hander's last two starts. Norris will be on the hill tonight when Houston hosts the Tampa Bay Rays in the middle portion of this three-game interleague series.

Norris tossed six scoreless innings with five strikeouts and one walk, but did not receive a decision against the Dodgers on Sunday. He also lost at home to Pittsburgh on June 14, and in his last three outings has given up a total of two earned runs over 21 innings.

The Rays mark the only American League team he has faced in his career. Norris' lone interleague start came on May 23, 2010 when he allowed four earned runs in five innings with 10 strikeouts. He didn't get a decision.

Wade Davis makes the 50th start of his career tonight for the Rays. The righty has won his last two starts, beating Baltimore on the road and most recently limiting the Marlins to a run over six innings on June 17. His current win streak comes on the heels after going a month (and four starts) without a victory.

Davis has struggled with the bottom of the order, as opposing 7-8-9 hitters are batting .343. Meanwhile, hitters 1 through 6 are batting just .251. He's also struggled with the long ball of late, giving up 12 homers in his last eight starts. That followed a stretch of yielding just one round-tripper over his first six starts.

Coming off his first career interleague victory, Davis has never faced the Astros.

Last night, James Shields tossed his major league-leading sixth complete game to give Tampa Bay a 5-1 victory.

Shields (8-4) allowed one run on three hits and a walk while fanning nine in his third straight complete game victory. He also surpassed Joe Kennedy for the club record for complete games in a season. Kennedy threw five in 2002.

"I definitely didn't think it was going to be this many. I thought I was trying to get three or four or something like that," said Shields. "It's unbelievable. This is not how I expected to start but this is exactly how I wanted to start."

Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton hit back-to-back homers as the Rays won for the sixth time in seven games.

Wandy Rodriguez (5-4), who had won his last three starts, allowed five runs on six hits and two walks through six innings. It was his first loss in exactly two months.

Chris Johnson knocked in the lone run for the Astros, losers in four of their last five.

The Astros could be without catcher J.R. Towles. He took a foul ball that bounced off his mask and onto his chin and knocked him out of the game. He had to leave because his chin was bleeding profusely and was replaced by Carlos Corporan behind the dish. Towles received 11 stitches and is listed as day-to- day.

The Rays, winners in seven of their last eight interleague games, won two of three over the Astros in Houston last season.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.