MLB Team Report - Houston Astros - INSIDE PITCH


HOUSTON -- Jon Singleton offered another flash of potential Wednesday. Now he needs to find a way to sustain some success.

The Houston rookie first baseman hit a two-run, opposite-field home run off Oakland Athletics right-hander Jason Hammel in the fifth inning of the Astros' 8-1 win.

The hit was the only one Singleton recorded in the series, as he went 1-for-9 with two RBIs and three runs. Singleton has struggled mightily since his promotion from Triple-A Oklahoma City on June 3, batting .174 with a .270 on-base percentage, a .355 slugging percentage and a whopping 70 strikeouts in 196 plate appearances. When asked what he has said to Singleton through the course of his woes, Astros manager Bo Porter offered a pointed quip.

"Welcome to the big leagues," Porter said. "These are the growing pains of a young player learning the lessons that he needs to learn at the major league level."

If there is a bit of promise tied to Singleton, it comes by way of his power (his eight homers are the most by an Astros rookie since Jeff Bagwell clubbed 14 in 1991) and his patience. Singleton leads all American League rookies with 22 walks, including three against Oakland. He walked in his first plate appearance Wednesday. In the series finale against the Marlins on Sunday, he walked twice before smacking another opposite-field homer to left, this one off Miami closer Steve Cishek.

"That there is a true indication that he's starting to see the ball better," Porter said of the walks. "A lot of his strikeouts are balls out of the strike zone, and when he gets to the point where he's seeing the ball well, he's taking those pitches and he's either walking or he's buying himself a better pitch to hit."

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MLB Team Report - Houston Astros - NOTES, QUOTES


RECORD: 44-64

STREAK: Won one

NEXT: Blue Jays (RHP Drew Hutchison, 7-9, 4.44 ERA) at Astros (RHP Jarred Cosart, 9-7, 4.41 ERA)

PLAYER NOTES:

--RHP Josh Zeid will undergo season-ending surgery on his right foot Aug. 6. Zeid was placed on the 15-day disabled list last week with left foot bilateral sesamoiditis but will undergo a sesamoidectomy on his right foot first. Zeid will undergo the same procedure on his left foot six weeks after his initial surgery, and he is expected to be sidelined a minimum of three months.

--LF Chris Carter was a late scratch Wednesday due to illness. RF Marc Krauss shifted to replace Carter defensively while Robbie Grossman was added to the lineup and replaced Krauss in right field. In July, Carter leads the American League in slugging percentage (.679), is tied for first with eight home runs, and is third in OPS (1.043) and RBIs (19).

--LHP Dallas Keuchel recorded his fourth complete game of the season, which leads the American League and is tied with Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw for the major league lead. The last Houston pitcher with four complete games in a season was RHP Roy Oswalt in 2005; the last Astros left-hander to accomplish the feat was Randy Johnson, who did so in only 11 starts in 1998 after joining the club in a trade with the Seattle Mariners.

--1B Jon Singleton clubbed his eighth homer this season in the fifth inning, the most homers by an Astros rookie since 1B Jeff Bagwell hit 14 in 1991. Singleton also drew a walk in the first inning, giving him five in his last four games and 22 since making his debut June 3. That latter total leads all American League rookies.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They've pretty much owned us the last couple of years, so it feels pretty good. They got some guys hurt, and they're not going to make any excuses over there because they're a good team and they figure out ways to win just like last night. We can't take anything for granted, and I just wanted to close the door. It's just another start. I try to go the distance every start, and I just got fortunate enough to get some other contact and looked up and it was the eighth inning." -- LHP Dallas Keuchel, after going the distance to beat the Oakland A's 8-1 Wednesday.

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