PHOENIX -- Carlos Lee was out of the starting lineup on Monday for the first time since July 10, giving J.D. Martinez a chance to hit cleanup for the first time as a Major Leaguer. Martinez showed his worth in that spot by cranking an opposite-field, three-run homer in the first inning.
"That's cool," Martinez said of batting fourth. "I've always hit three, four or five over my career, and I'm pretty comfortable here."
Lee, who was 3-for-20 on the Astros' recent homestand, has been playing first base since Brett Wallace was sent to the Minor Leagues. With Lee out of the lineup, Matt Downs made his second start of the season at first base.
"I just thought that this was a good day to give him a day and get Downs in there," Astros manager Brad Mills said of the decision to sit Lee. "[Downs] needs to play. I'm leaning towards giving [Angel] Sanchez a start [Tuesday] and trying to get those [bench] guys some starts as we move on."