BALTIMORE -- Alex Bregman's second career homer -- a tape-measure shot to left-center on Thursday -- was another signal that the rookie third baseman has put his early struggles behind him. The homer was also significant in that it came off Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, who hosted Bregman during his recruiting visit to LSU.
With another high Draft pick from LSU -- Ben McDonald (No. 1 overall in 1989) -- calling the game, Bregman blasted his homer. But Bregman was more focused on the outcome of the game -- a 13-5 loss, the Astros' fifth in a row.
"I'm not really concerned about that," Bregman said when asked about Gausman. "The only thing I'm worried about is trying to win this game, and we didn't do that tonight. We're going to come out to play ready to go tomorrow. That's all I'm really concerned about -- contribute and try to win games."
Since starting his career in a startling 2-for-38 funk, Bregman is settling in. He's hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games and is batting .308 with five doubles, two homers, nine runs scored and eight RBIs since Aug. 6. He's done a solid job in the No. 2 hole of manager A.J. Hinch's lineup.
"He's certainly swung the bat well," Hinch said. "Even in that rough stretch, he was still pretty good. He's a good player. Like I said, the scoreboard is not going to do justice to him yet, but his at-bats are quality. That's why he stays in the two-hole and he's hitting in front of one of the best hitters in the game. He continues to contribute every day. There's not a lot not to like about Alex Bregman."
Bregman finds it hard to shine a light on any individual accomplishments when the team is going through a funk. The Astros are 7-16 since reaching 10 games over .500 on July 24 and have an uphill climb in the playoff race.
"Guys want to go out here and get the job done," Bregman said. "Guys want to fight. We're going to fight and grind every single pitch and try and do anything we can to help win games."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.