PITTSBURGH -- Chris Johnson is admittedly feeling more comfortable at the plate these days, but the Astros' third baseman is drawing upon his experience from last year and not allowing himself to get too comfortable.
Johnson, who hit a go-ahead RBI single in Sunday's eventual 3-2, 12-inning loss to the Pirates, is batting an even .300 with 20 RBIs on the season.
"You can't be [too comfortable]," Johnson said. "My experience has taught me that. I'm going to keep working, and the main thing is we're winning some ballgames. We need to get to that .500 mark and we'll go from there."
Johnson has been working all season on being more selective, and manager Brad Mills said finding the right approach is a never-ending process.
"It's a situation where he's still fining where he's at, finding where that strike [zone] is and finding what pitches he can handle and what pitchers he can't handle," Mills said. "Those are things he's still going through. For this stretch of close to two years, I've tried to hit him sixth and seventh most of the time to kind of take [pressure] off. He's got the bat speed to really do some damage."
Astros continue tradition of pink bats
PITTSBURGH -- For the seventh consecutive year, some Astros players used pink bats during Sunday's Mother's Day game against the Pirates to help raise awareness for breast cancer.
While all the players wore pink ribbons on their jerseys and donned pink armbands, some -- like infielder Marwin Gonzalez -- took it a step further and even wore pink cleats. Among the Astros swinging hot pink lumber on Sunday were Carlos Lee, Jason Castro and Gonzalez.
"It's an honor for Mother's Day," said Lee, who went 2-for-5 with two runs on Sunday. "I think that it's good that MLB shows that we care about the mothers."
The bats will be auctioned to help raise money for Komen for the Cure. The auction increasingly represents a sizable chunk of the total that goes to Komen for overall funding for awareness, research and treatment of breast cancer.
Fans can also buy one of those 2012 pink bats right now from the MLB.com shop and help in the fight against breast cancer in the process. They are going for $69.99, and $10 of each sale goes to Komen for the Cure. The bats are the same model many players used Sunday.
Snyder 'slowly' moving up interesting list
PITTSBURGH -- Astros catcher Chris Snyder is one step closer to history, albeit a slow step.
Snyder recently moved into third place on baseball's all-time list for the most plate appearances without a stolen base.
Snyder was sitting at 2,232 career plate appearances entering Sunday, which put him only 12 behind Johnny Estrada (2,244), who's second all time. At the top of the list is catcher Russ Nixon, who played 12 seasons (1957-68) and never stole a base in 2,714 career plate appearances.
"I think statistics have proven I can stay in one place for a very long time and not get to a destination very quickly," Snyder said.
Snyder embraces his lack of speed, joking Sunday with teammates that he needs to get his cleats bronzed if he ever breaks the all-time record. Of course, one stolen base would take Snyder off the list, but don't expect that to happen.
"It's pretty funny," he said. "It's comical. It's something that was brought to my attention probably two years ago. I knew I had never stole a bag, but the last couple of years it's been one of those things where I heard from everybody about getting close.
"They say, 'When you get a bag, you need to do the Rickey Henderson and hold up the bag and all kinds of stuff.' I don't know if I'll do that if I could ever get a bag. It's pretty funny. I get a laugh out of it."
Second baseman Jose Altuve, who has played in 32 of the club's first 33 games, was held out of the lineup Sunday to get some rest. Marwin Gonzalez started at second base, marking his first start since April 24.
Left fielder J.D. Martinez, who entered Sunday in a 1-for-31 slump and hitless in his last 21 at-bats, returned to the starting lineup after three days out of the lineup.