CINCINNATI -- Astros pitching coach Brad Arnsberg was among those who congratulated Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay on his perfect game Saturday."He was really fired up about it," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "I think he texted him, and Halladay texted him back. That was pretty cool."
Arnsberg spent five seasons as Halladay's pitching coach in Toronto before joining the Astros' staff for the 2010 season.
Feliz gets break as he changes approach
CINCINNATI -- Pedro Feliz was out of the starting lineup again Sunday with Geoff Blum playing third base and hitting sixth.Feliz is hitting just .163 in May and has seen his average dip to .205 for the season. In an effort to rebound from the struggles, Feliz has been taking early batting practice and working to change his approach at the plate. "They're working on some mechanical things and kind of a mindset-type hitting," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "It was nice to see him get that hit last night in his one at-bat." Feliz took over for Lance Berkman at first base in the seventh inning of Saturday's game and singled up the middle in the ninth. But against another right-handed pitcher Sunday in Mike Leake, the opportunity again presented itself to insert Blum, who has a .274 average against right-handers. "With the new approach and everything else, we're just trying to maybe get that cemented a little bit more instead of putting him into the ballgame right now and having him maybe revert back some -- if it's not cemented yet," Mills said. "But getting a couple days like this isn't going to hurt."
Berkman back batting third in lineup
CINCINNATI -- After four games in a row with Lance Berkman batting fifth and Hunter Pence hitting third, Berkman was back in the No. 3 spot for Sunday's game.Although Berkman continues to struggle to find consistency at the plate, he's still getting on base by drawing a lot of walks. In the last five games, he's walked six times and boasts an on-base percentage of .455. "Hunter's swinging the bat much better, and the one thing Lance has done even though he's gone through some struggles is he's been able to get on base," Mills said. "And with Carlos [Lee] starting to swing the bat better and Hunter swinging the bat better, we're hoping that we can get some baserunners on and just try to score some runs that way with Hunter swinging the bat like he is." Pence has recorded a hit in each of the last six games and leads the team in RBIs. Meanwhile, Lee also proved to be a bright spot in the first two games against Cincinnati, collecting four hits, three of which were doubles.
Sampson, Astros' bullpen rested
CINCINNATI -- The Astros allowed double-digit runs in each of the first two games against the Reds, but the bullpen was at least back in order entering Sunday.Thanks to four innings of relief from Wesley Wright, manager Brad Mills expected all relievers -- with the exception of Wright and Saturday's starter Brian Moehler -- to be available, including right-hander Chris Sampson. "[Sampson] was getting some treatment this morning, and he said he was doing well," Mills said. "He was available yesterday, but only if we felt that we needed him. With Wes being able to give us those innings, that was big." Four relievers were used in Friday's loss before Mills called on catcher Kevin Cash, but just two were used in the 12-2 loss Friday. Sampson has not appeared since allowing four runs last Tuesday in Milwaukee.
Matt Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.