HOUSTON (AP) – Chris Johnson‘s recent adjustments at the plate are paying off for the Houston Astros.
Johnson homered and drove in three runs and J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer to lead the Astros to a 7-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.
The victory gave Houston a series win for the first time since taking two of three from the White Sox June 8-10.
Johnson has heated up lately with 10 hits in the last five games after getting just one in the previous five. He’s had five RBIs in the last two games after not driving in a run in the previous 11 games.
He and Houston manager Brad Mills attributed his success to some tweaks Johnson made after talking with hitting coach Mike Barnett.
“We talked about being short to the ball and trying to keep my swing from getting long and trying to stay away from being pull-happy,” Johnson said. “So those things, staying in the middle of the field, being short, have helped me out a lot.”
Along with the homer, Johnson had two singles on Sunday, both of which came with two strikes.
“The swings he’s started to put on balls, especially his two strike approach has been real good if you ask me, because a lot of those balls are coming with two strikes,” Mills said.
Houston starter J.A. Happ (6-7) got his second consecutive win by allowing four hits and a run in seven innings. He continued a streak of solid pitching by the Astros, whose starters have a combined 1.88 ERA in the last seven games.
“To see the guys continue to throw the ball like they are is definitely outstanding,” Mills said. “It really helps out the bullpen down there because they had a lot of use on that road trip.”
Johnson’s run-scoring single in the fourth tied it at 1 and Carlos Lee put Houston on top with an RBI single in the sixth.