With their cleanup hitter sidelined, the Houston Astros moved
Brett Wallace up in the lineup the last time they took the
The surging 24-year-old first baseman didn’t disappoint.
Wallace looks to continue his hot hitting as the visiting Astros
try for a season-best fourth consecutive victory Wednesday against
the Cincinnati Reds.
Houston (12-17) took two straight from Milwaukee over the
weekend while allowing a total of one run but used an offensive
outburst to win 10-4 in Tuesday night’s series opener.
Wallace, who had hit fifth for most of the season, was moved up
as Carlos Lee was held out due to a rib injury. The young slugger
went 2 for 5 with a home run as Houston recorded its highest run
total on the road. Lee’s status for this game is unknown.
Wallace is batting .523 in his last 12 games, and his .383
average ranks among the top five in the majors.
“I think the biggest thing is you have to get a good pitch to
hit and put a good swing on it and put it in play and try to drive
guys in when you have the opportunity,” Wallace told the Astros’
“For me, it’s the same thing. Whether I’m hitting fourth, fifth,
sixth or seventh, it doesn’t matter. I just I have to go up there
with a game plan and stick to it and help the team win.”
Michael Bourn, who went 1 for 5 Tuesday, is batting .444 over a
seven-game hitting streak against the Reds. Jason Bourgeois
collected three hits to increase his average to .588 in his last
“You have two guys that could easily be .300 hitters that when
they get on base is potentially a triple every time,” said Hunter
Pence, enjoying a seven-game hitting streak of his own. “It really
is a dangerous weapon having that 1-2, and something I don’t
(think) any other (team) can come close to.”
Houston’s starters have recorded a 1.64 ERA during the
three-game run. Rookie Aneury Rodriguez (0-0, 6.75) is scheduled to
take the mound Wednesday for his first major league start.
Rodriguez, who started 131 games in Tampa Bay’s minor league
system from 2005-10, will take Nelson Figueroa’s spot in the
“I’m excited because I was a starter for five years and I like
it better because I have more time for preparation,” said the
23-year-old right hander, who is expected to throw around 80
Rodriguez will look to add to Cincinnati’s recent woes at home.
The Reds (14-15) are below .500 for the first time since May 7 of
last season thanks largely to a 3-9 stretch at Great American Ball
“Where I come from, it’s OK to get down as long as you don’t
stay down,” manager Dusty Baker said. “That’s the secret. Everybody
gets down. The key is not staying down.”
If his recent efforts are any indication, Travis Wood (1-3,
6.82) doesn’t seem likely to stop the Reds’ struggles.
Wood allowed a season-worst seven runs and eight hits in 3 1-3
innings of a 7-6 loss to Florida on Friday, dropping him to 0-3
with an 8.39 ERA in five starts since winning his season debut.
The left-hander, who has lost his two most recent home outings
while recording a 17.55 ERA, is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two career
starts against Houston.