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Wheeler makes second straight start

HOUSTON -- A day after starting and hitting his first Major League home run, third baseman Ryan Wheeler was again in the lineup on Sunday. He hadn't started back-to-back games since joining the club on July 20.

Manager Kirk Gibson said Wheeler earned some starts with good at-bats as a pinch-hitter.

"[Pinch-hitting] really makes you get with it," Gibson said. "It's not like you're getting a consistent three or four at-bats a game. We saw some improvement there."

Gibson also felt Wheeler put in the work in the batting cage and in the infield before games.

With Wheeler starting, Chris Johnson was relegated to pinch-hitting duty for the second straight day. Johnson is hitless in his last 16 at-bats. He started two of the D-backs' past five games after starting in his first 13 as a D-back.

Gibson said before Saturday's game that he was trying to keep players fresh as they started a stretch of five games in four days. Justin Upton also had the day off on Sunday.

Full Game Coverage
HOU Full Game Coverage STON -- A day after starting and hitting his first Major League home run, third baseman Ryan Wheeler was again in the lineup on Sunday. He hadn't started back-to-back games since joining the club on July 20.

Manager Kirk Gibson said Wheeler earned some starts with good at-bats as a pinch-hitter.

"[Pinch-hitting] really makes you get with it," Gibson said. "It's not like you're getting a consistent three or four at-bats a game. We saw some improvement there."

Gibson also felt Wheeler put in the work in the batting cage and in the infield before games.

With Wheeler starting, Chris Johnson was relegated to pinch-hitting duty for the second straight day. Johnson is hitless in his last 16 at-bats. He started two of the D-backs' past five games after starting in his first 13 as a D-back.

Gibson said before Saturday's game that he was trying to keep players fresh as they started a stretch of five games in four days. Justin Upton also had the day off on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.