DENVER -- After outfielder J.D. Martinez went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in Monday's win over the Rockies, Astros manager Bo Porter tapped him on the back and told him he would be right back in the lineup the next day. Martinez went 8-for-13 in the following three games against Colorado, rewarding Porter's faith in him.
"I told him he's not going to go the rest of the season and not strike out five times, so why does it matter if it happened in five consecutive at-bats?" Porter said. "You can't let it become a mental thing, where you're thinking about the strikeout. You have to make sure you stay in the frame of mind that gives you the best opportunity to be successful."
Martinez went 4-for-5 on Thursday's win over the Rockies, setting a career high for hits. He's hitting .416 (15-for-36) over his last eight games, with three doubles, two home runs, eight RBIs and six runs scored. Martinez drove an RBI single up the middle in the eighth inning Wednesday to break a 2-2 tie.
"It goes back to him using the whole field," Porter said. "J.D. has done a great job using the whole field, driving the ball the other way and taking what the opposition is giving him. That was a tough pitch last night, and if he would have tried to pull that ball, it's a ground ball to the shortstop and the inning is over. He stays in the middle of the field and kept his nose down and drove the ball up the middle."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.