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Patience the key to heating up at the plate

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Astros endured plenty of difficult stretches at the plate last season, en route to finishing last in the American League in on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

They've been going through another one recently in Grapefruit League play. During the club's five-game losing streak, extended with an 8-1 defeat to the Marlins on Tuesday, the Astros have scored a total of 11 runs.

Four Marlins pitchers, beginning with starter Jacob Turner, shut down the Houston offense, which managed just three singles. The Astros managed to push across one run in the first inning on a walk, an error, a single and a sacrifice fly.

Over the course of the losing streak, Houston hitters have gone 28-for-149 (.188) with 11 walks and 43 strikeouts. On the positive side, five of those free passes came on Tuesday.

"I felt like the at-bats were good at times," manager Bo Porter said. "There were some at-bats where we really expanded the zone, and others where it seemed like we just weren't patient enough to get a good pitch to hit, given the situation."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.
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