HOUSTON -- After making a concerted effort during Spring Training to start hitting the ball to the opposite field, Astros outfielder Josh Reddick is doing it exceptionally well and has gotten off to a terrific start at the plate.
Reddick went 3-for-4 with three singles to the left side of second base in the Astros' 9-5 loss to the Twins on Monday night at Minute Maid Park. It was Houston's first loss of the season at home and the third in a row overall.
Reddick is hitting .524 (11-for-21) during a five-game stretch in which he has three three-hit games, including 6-for-8 at the plate in the past two games. Entering Monday, Reddick had a 33.3 percent pull rate -- the lowest of his career -- and a 31.4 percent hard-hit ball rate, which was his best mark since 2016.
"It's too cliche, but I'm not trying to do too much," said Reddick, who's hitting .365 this season. "I'm just going up there and using what they're going to give me and I had a pretty significant hole over there on the left side today. If they keep pitching away, I'm going to try to keep going that way until they come in. It's a matter of just riding this wave as long as I can because eventually it will come crashing down and I've got to get back up on that board and go again."
Against Twins starter Jake Odorizzi, Reddick singled sharply in the second inning just to the left of second base in a shift, hit a soft line drive to left field for a single in the fourth that scored Michael Brantley and rolled a single just past second base in the sixth. He lined out to left field in the eighth. Of his 23 hits this season that weren't bunts, 11 have to been to the opposite field.
"Whether they're trying to come and just missing right now, is one thing," Reddick said. "I know my second at-bat [Odorizzi] was trying to hammer me in with [Brantley] at second base to kind of jam me and get the rollover in that shift. Fortunately, I was able to foul off a lot of pitches and get the one I was able to handle."
Reddick hit well to the opposite field in 2017, when he had one of the best seasons of his career, but wasn't as proficient last year, when he was more focused on the inner third of the plate and got away from his approach and started pulling off the ball.
"That's when I'm right, where I'm 100 percent where I need to be is going that way and not trying to pull everything into the upper deck," Reddick said. "Those things will come. Like [Sunday], I wasn't even trying to hit a homer and it went out. Just got to go up there with the same mental approach and same thought and things will work out like they did today."
Reddick's single to score Brantley cut the Twins' lead to 3-1, but Minnesota tagged reliever Josh James for four runs in the sixth to take a 7-1 lead. A solo homer by Brantley in the sixth and three-run shot by Carlos Correa in the seventh cut Minnesota's lead to 7-5, but Jorge Polanco kept the Astros at bay with a two-run homer in the eighth.
The Astros have been outscored in the first inning, 10-0, during their three-game losing streak and haven't been able to recover. On Monday, Brad Peacock gave up a pair in the first and three runs overall in five innings.
"This thing will pass," Reddick said. "Our starters are going to come back around. There's going to be a time our bats are going to outweigh our bad innings. With some tougher defensive plays today, it wasn't really the most ideal game for us out there today, but it's behind us now."