Valencia has Astros' number in 2015
HOUSTON -- Maybe it's Minute Maid Park, maybe it's the uniforms, or maybe it's just dumb luck -- Danny Valencia can't seem to figure out why he's so successful against the Astros.
Valencia, who hit the go-ahead home run off reliever Pat Neshek in the eighth inning of Friday's 4-3 win, is now hitting .452 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in 10 games against the Astros this season. His three hits on Friday improved his 2015 average at Minute Maid Park to .448.
Not that he would know.
"Really? I am?" Valencia answered when asked what makes him so lethal against Houston.
Then he was read his stats.
"Maybe fortunate for me to get hitter's counts; maybe I just see the ball better," he said. "The guys out there are really good. [Houston starter Mike] Fiers pitched a great game today, and more often than not, Neshek is going to get me out."
Valencia took Fiers deep in the fourth, lofting a full-count fastball into the Crawford Boxes to make it back-to-back shots after Josh Reddick hammered one out.
His go-ahead homer came on a slider up in the zone two pitches after Neshek had jumped in front, 0-2.
"I was looking for something up," Valencia said of the matchup with Neshek, a submarine sinker thrower. "A guy like that keeps the ball down, has a lot of movement, a lot of sink down. So whenever he leaves the ball up, that's when you've got to swing. Luckily for me he did it, and I was able to get enough to get it out."
Asked about his August acquisition's success against Houston, manager Bob Melvin was just as stumped.
"There are certain teams that you gain some confidence against and swing the bat well against them and you feel good," Melvin said. "But he's done some damage against a lot of teams this year, too."