OAKLAND -- Astros backup catcher Carlos Corporan, who got the start in Thursday's series finale, has drawn repeated praise in the clubhouse for the job he's done this year behind All-Star starter Jason Castro.
Corporan has had a knack for coming up with some big hits this year, including his eighth-inning homer Monday to break up Yu Darvish's no-hit bid and his 11th-inning double off the bench Wednesday that scored Jose Altuve with the winning run.
Corporan entered Thursday hitting .252 with seven homers and 17 RBIs.
"He's done an incredible job," Castro said. "I think one of the most impressive things -- and it showed [Wednesday] night and it kind of epitomized what he's been able to do for us his year -- is coming off the bench cold, catching the ninth inning and coming up with a big double. That's really tough to do."
Astros manager Bo Porter believes the switch-hitting Corporan, who started his 37th game of the season on Thursday, has played a big role in Castro's development this year into front-line starter.
"That plays a huge role in giving your everyday guy an off-day when you have guys like Corporan, who has been tremendous and you're confident putting him back there knowing he's going to be able to get the job done and keep Castro fresh," Porter said. "That's played a huge role in the success Castro has had this year."
Corporan has managerial aspirations when his playing career is done and routinely bends Porter's ear during games to talk strategy.
"He's into the game the entire time, even the days he's not playing," Porter said.
Porter looking for confidence from young Astros
OAKLAND -- Jarred Cosart showed up to the ballpark prior to his start on Wednesday and told pitching coach Doug Brocail the Astros were going to be able to wear jeans on their trip to Anaheim on Friday -- something manager Bo Porter only allows his players to do when they win a series.
Cosart went out and threw six scoreless innings as the Astros wound up winning in 11 innings against the A's to win their first series in two months, but Cosart's confidence is exactly what Porter wants to see from his young club.
"That lets you know the mentality is starting to sink in," he said. "In his mind, he knows he's going to win this game and we're going to be able to wear jeans."
The Astros typically have to wear dress pants and jackets when they travel on the road. After they won the first game of a series in Tampa on July 12, second baseman Jose Altuve asked Porter if they could wear jeans if they won the series. Porter said yes.
"We win Game 1 and lose the second game, and so the third game I was very interested to see who was going to show up in jeans [prior to the third game]," said Porter, hoping his team would show up with confidence they would win the series. "Needless to say, they didn't show up in jeans. I was highly disappointed and I let the whole group know."
Porter held a meeting following the All-Star break and recited a story he was told by former Chicago Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong, a friend of Porter's. Armstrong had told Porter a story about when Michael Jordan didn't pack a suitcase for a playoff road trip after the Bulls had gone up 3-2 in a series and were hitting the road during one of their playoff runs.
"The equipment guys can't find Michael Jordan's suitcase," Porter said. "Michael Jordan didn't have a suitcase. He said, 'I'm going to Portland for one night and all I need are the clothes I have on.' He grabbed the microphone on the bus and said 'Anybody that packed a suitcase you probably want to get off the bus. That means you plan on staying for more than one night.'
"They won the championship and came home. I told them that story. It shows the power of the mind and you have to believe you're going to get it done."
Cosart on historic start to young career
OAKLAND -- By throwing six scoreless innings in Wednesday's game against the A's and improving his ERA to 1.15 though his first six Major League starts, Astros rookie right-hander Jarred Cosart has put himself in some select company.
From 1962-2013, there have been 660 pitchers to have all of their first six games come in starts. Cosart's ERA is the sixth-lowest from among that group. The only players who have posted lower ERAs in that span are Steve Rogers (0.88), Zach Duke (0.92), Cisco Carlos (0.93), Tom Browning (0.95) and Jered Weaver (1.12).
"I try not to pay any attention to it," Cosart said. "Obviously, I'm on Twitter and all that stuff and I see it, but you can't put too much stock in it. I didn't come up to pitch six good games and get a big head and go back down to Triple-A. I want to be here for the long haul and help complete the turnaround. I think that's what our starters' goal is. We're pushing each other."
Cosart, one of five pitchers in the Astros' six-man rotation who's younger than 26 years old, has leaned heavily on the lone veteran in that group -- 34-year-old lefty Erik Bedard.
"He's paid his dues," Cosart said. "He's told me how to carry myself on and off the field, how to go about your business. He told me to throw my two-seam fastball more, and I threw it more [Wednesday]. It's little stuff I've heard before, but it's reinforced from people like him. He's constantly getting on me every day when we play catch and he lets me know little adjustments I can make.
"Obviously, he's not going to be here forever and hopefully we have him for a few more years, but hopefully I can stay in contact with him through the course of my career. He's helped me a lot."