Hernandez a surprise spark for Astros

Hernandez a surprise spark for Astros

ANAHEIM -- Astros manager Bo Porter went with the hot hand, keeping rookie Enrique Hernandez in the starting lineup at shortstop for the second game in a row Saturday night. Hernandez had three hits Friday and made a pair of outstanding defensive plays, probably saving at least three runs.

"He's been playing really well," Porter said. "You look at the way he played defensively yesterday, the way he played defensively in left field a couple of days ago and he continues to swing the bat well. He's been a great addition to our ballclub."

The Major League staff is still trying to get a feel for Hernandez, who wasn't in big league camp. He made his Major League debut Wednesday and had an RBI double in his first at-bat, and then hit a homer Wednesday. He entered Saturday with six hits in 12 at-bats.

Defensively, the 22-year-old Hernandez ran down a ball in center to end the first inning Friday to strand the bases loaded, and he started a terrific double play in the hole to end the fifth. And he showed great arm strength, throwing out a runner from his knees.

"Defensively, I never quit on a ball," he said. "I'm just going to go until someone calls me off, I catch the ball or the ball drops."

Porter admitted Hernandez has been a spark to the Astros, though they've yet to win since he's been up. Hernandez was drafted out of Puerto Rico in the sixth round in 2009.

"He's definitely brought a spark to the team," Porter said. "Again, it's refreshing to see a guy rewarded for just performing at each and every level. He wasn't in big league camp, so it's not like the Major League staff had an opportunity to work with him or know him. He basically knocked the door down and played his way here and is continuing to knock down the door and play his way into the lineup. I like to see stories like that."

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.